Project by United Methodist Women in Liberia Helps to Keep Rural Girls in School
E JULU SWEN| AMPHOR MISSION, Liberia (UM News) |FEBRUARY 11, 2020
United Methodist women in Liberia are aiming to keep rural girls in school during their menstrual cycles with the launch of a new program to make reusable sanitary pads locally.
“These young girls are disadvantaged by their male counterparts when they have to leave school because of this natural phenomenon,” said United Methodist pastor Rose Farhat, director of women’s ministries.
She pointed out that the girls often miss their tests, and getting teachers to administer makeups is a struggle that sometimes leads to teachers taking advantage of the young girls — making them pay money or manipulating them into unwanted sexual activities.
The new program, launched Jan. 22, is funded by a $5,000 grant from United Methodist Women. The menstrual pads — made from local materials, including cotton — will be assembled by the district women and distributed to girls who can’t afford imported sanitary products.
Farhat told United Methodist News that the menstrual pads are hygienic, comfortable and reusable, which will save the girls money for school activities. She said that the project will be implemented throughout the 20 districts of the conference.
“This project is timely because the education standards of our rural girls are dropping very fast because of the menace that their menstrual cycle is causing them,” she said.
Farhat said the yearlong project will teach more than 60 women how to make the cloth menstrual pads.
“Our goal is to reach every town and village where The United Methodist Church has its presence,” she said.
Elizabeth G. Vonyon, a beneficiary, said the cloth menstrual pads don’t have the same restrictions as imported pads and are much easier to use.