As young girls grow up in Guatemala, they meet a challenge: their menstruation cycle. Period poverty in Guatemala weighs heavily on the country. The lack of access to hygiene management education and proper sanitation tools forces young girls to stay out of school for days at a time. However, as technology evolves and resources develop, many organizations are working to end period poverty in Guatemala and beyond.
Days for Girls
Days for Girls commits to helping females reach their fullest potential by combating period poverty and menstrual stigma. The organization begins this process by providing a Days for Girls (DFG) Kit, education on hygiene and sanitation, training and general support. Additionally, the group spreads awareness through global partnerships, mobilizing volunteer networks and working toward destigmatizing menstruation.
The DFG Kit consists of a multitude of necessities for managing a period. All the products are reusable, easily washable and durable. In fact, users of the patented kit say the items can last up to three years. Specifically, these kits require just a small amount of water, dry quickly and keep users comfortable while going about their daily lives. Furthermore, Days for Girls also handmakes the kits and the bags the kits come with, giving the packages a personal touch of beauty.
Thus far, Days for Girls has touched the lives of more than 1.7 million females. The organization’s reach spreads across more than 140 countries, with more than a thousand mobilizing teams and chapters. Currently, the organization has more than 15 countries with enterprises. Importantly, the group has an office stationed in Guatemala, focused on growing the team and production in the country.
The GRACE Project (Guatemalan Rural Adult and Children’s Education)
The GRACE Project stems from a collaboration of groups in Southwest Florida. The project aims to educate, train and help employ local Guatemalan women. The organization develops and implements workshops and home visits where they provide educational materials on reproductive health and local resources.
In addition to education, The GRACE Project creates handmade menstruation kits. All the products are reusable, washable and long-lasting. The kit consists of fertility bracelets with instructions, shields that serve as barriers to any leakage, flannel cotton pads, soap, gallon bags for washing and underwear.
In the past year, The GRACE Project gave 500 kits to women all over Guatemala. Along with these, the project has also passed out 800 Reproductive Health Kits within Central America. The kit provides up to three years’ worth of period products and a lifetime of birth control. The GRACE Project continues to grow production and delivery methods through workshops in Guatemala.
SERniña founder, Danielle Skogen, lived in Guatemala for three years working as a teacher. During her time, she noticed a need for health and hygiene education. Often, Skogen would watch girls drop out of school due to a lack of access to proper sanitary items and a lack of support from their community. Thus, she developed SERniña as an educational support program.
The SERniña program works with already established educational organizations to bring about curriculums to educate and help eradicate period poverty in Guatemala. The organization teaches a range of topics such as human rights, financial literacy skills, aspiration-setting and menstrual and reproductive health.
In the workshops, facilitators work with the women to raise confidence levels and take care of their hygienic needs. Trained local women who are certified facilitators for SERniña teach all of the organization’s lessons. The program allows for conversations and participation in a safe space with specific lessons focused on self-advocacy, self-care and overall self-love. As a result, the program has delivered more than 400 hours of workshops to 180 girls and counting.
As shown above, the efforts of each organization play an important role in the Guatemalan community. Education, access and support truly uplift the local women. The work to eradicate period poverty in Guatemala can continue thanks to aid from organizations like these.
– Sallie Blackmon