Muna Uganda ayimbye luganda nawangula abazungu mu Denmark
Meet the Ugandan students performing their way out of a pricey period
Imagine having to skip lessons just because it’s that time of the month
Words by Kiera Chapman
No one enjoys the pang of a sharp cramp their period brings, but in the West world we are are usually able to shake it off and carry on with the rest the day.
Across Africa it’s a different story. Here, according to UNESCO, one in ten adolescent girls regularly misses school due to menstruation, and then eventually drops out. Research by Oxford University also found that in areas where girls aren’t provided with any education about periods and puberty, absenteeism among girls is 17% higher in comparison to areas where this education is provided. This equates to three and half days of school missed a month, every month. For girls who are in one of the most essential stages of their lives, the effects of this are far more serious than a few days sick leave.
For the students of St Mary’s School, in the remote region of Karamoja, north-eastern Uganda, missing school due to your period has always been a common occurrence – until now.
An outstanding group of teenagers have come together, alongside international charityWaterAid, to smash menstruation myths and promote education around periods and sanitation by singing, dancing, and being all-round badass performers. They call themselves theWASH Club(which stands for water, sanitation and hygiene), and regularly put on performances to play out the valuable lessons they’ve learned in order to break the taboo surrounding periods.
Esther, 16, WASH Club member (R) helps her mother Maritina (L) wash the dishes at her home near Namalu, Karamoja Region, Uganda, July 2019. Credit WaterAid/ Eliza Powell
Esther, 16, is a student at St Mary’s and a member ofWASH.
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