Bina, 15, explains the difference a year makes. Since last year, her school’s toilet facility has drastically improved — there is now a changing room for girls and there is a pad distribution facility among others. This has been uplifting for Bina for it has changed her hygiene habits for the better.
Curator’s note: The following is an excerpt of Bina’s story as told to WaterAid staff in February 2017.
Before the project intervention, I was not aware about the importance of menstrual hygiene in my life. I would say that was my ignorance that I took it so lightly. But, now that we have started receiving training, I am more aware about it than before. I have even started to take part in discussion programs and competitions that are organised inside my school. These programs have been helpful in creating awareness and uplifting menstrual hygiene management in my school. Within a year, there have been a lot of changes. Our school has an improved toilet facility, there is a changing room for girls and water supply is frequent. There is also a pad distribution facility, which helps prevent young girls like us from missing out on class. The improvement and changes are very much evident.
Similarly, my perspective has also changed. Originally, I would be scared whenever my dates would come close, but now I think menstruation is a bless[ing] and I feel that women are lucky to be enjoying this womanhood. I have improved a lot in terms of hygiene. I make sure to wash myself daily. I eat green vegetables and other healthy foods. I change my pads regularly, dispose of my pads safely and wash my hands. Similarly, I have become a lot more confident and started valuing hygiene more.
Because of these changes, I have started teaching my young sisters and juniors not to be shy and openly talk about menstruation and talk about it more confidently.”
Photo credit: WaterAid/Mani Karmacharya