To mark International Day of the Girl, the Lake Chapala branch of the worldwide Days for Girls (DFG) movement offered a presentation to update volunteers and supporters on the expansion its local activities that have served more than 1,600 young women over the past three years.
The Days for Girls program aims to break the cycle of poverty and violence against women by promoting access to menstrual management supplies and education on reproductive health.
The lakeside group produces kits containing washable, reusable menstrual pads and shields for distribution in local communities, focusing on towns where girls from low income families may miss school stay home during their periods because they lack the understanding and sanitary materials needed to feel comfortable and confident during that time of the month.
The kits are given out in conjunction with a 12-hour education program that orients young women about the physical functions of their bodies, hygiene, fertility awareness, prevention of unwanted pregnancies and matters of sexual abuse and family violence. The program operates on a premise of empowering girls and women to take advantage of opportunities for leading better lives, thereby strengthening their families and communities.
With a grant received last year from St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, DFG was able to purchase 100 menstrual cups as an experimental pilot program. The flexible, funnel-shaped cups made out of surgical grade silicone are inserted into the vagina to collect, rather than absorb, menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups overall are a much healthier option for a woman’s body than using disposable pads or tampons.
The six-month pilot project targeted high schools girls aged 16 and up and young working mothers. The cup option was preferred by about half of the women approached