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Menstruation

Betty with her Afripad in Uganda
“I’m really happy with it,” says Betty of her Afripad. “Now I can go to school when I’m on my period.”

‘My Health Teacher taught me what was going on’

When Betty got her first period, she turned to her older sister. "Luckily she knew that it was normal, even though she didn't know exactly what was happening,” she says.

Periods are a taboo subject in Uganda and like many girls, Betty had to use old rags to manage her period, because her grandma had no money for pads. Now, as well as starting health clubs and training Health Teachers at schools like Betty’s, we’re also providing Afripads – washable sanitary pads – so girls can stay in education when they get their period.

Nurankis and Nur Nahar in Bangladesh
Nur Nahar, right, explains the practices that happen when a girl first gets her period. “We cannot talk to men. If a male relative comes to visit, the family tells him I am not home and I have to hide,” she says.

‘When we first arrived, they didn’t have anything’

For girls growing up in crisis, getting your period can make already challenging conditions even harder.

Nurankis and Nur Nahar are both living in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, having fled the violence in Myanmar. As well as the stigmas surrounding periods in their community, they also face a constant shortage of pads or clean cloths.

That’s why our teams have been distributing dignity kits, including washable cloths which can be reused and won’t clog the rudimentary toilets in the camps.

Growing up a girl: Uganda

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BREAKING THE BARRIERS IN THE UK

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1 in 10girls in the UK are unable to afford period products

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49% of UK girlshave missed an entire day of school because of their period

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Almost 70%of UK girls aren’t allowed to go to the toilet during school lesson times

Jessica, 17, from the UK

A CULTURE OF SHAME AND SILENCE

“I do feel like there’s a stigma around the topic of periods. If people spoke about periods more without the stigma, it could help a lot of people.” - Jess, 17, UK

Our first-of-its-kind report, Break the Barriers, explores UK girls’ experiences of having their period. It reveals a culture of shame and silence has turned periods into a hidden public health issue – putting girls' physical, sexual and mental health at risk.

TRANSFORMING UK GIRLS’ EXPERIENCES

Based on the findings from Break the Barriers, we’ve created a Menstrual Manifesto  – the six things we all need to make happen to transform girls' experiences of their periods.

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OUR PERIOD EMOJI IS ON ITS WAY!

We’re celebrating the amazing news that – thanks to your incredible support – our blood drop emoji design, developed in partnership with NHS Blood, is due to arrive on phones and keyboards everywhere soon.

That means people everywhere will be able to talk about periods using one of the fastest growing global languages, helping to break down the shame and stigma still associated with getting your period around the world.

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