Ending Bullying and Humiliation over Menstruation as Girls and Boys in Conservative Eswatini are Educated about Reproductive Health

Nomcebo Mkhaliphi posing with girls from the Kwaluseni Infantry Primary School in Eswatini. Courtesy: Nomcebo Mkhaliphi By Mantoe PhakathiMBABANE , Jan 21 2020 (IPS) When 14-year-old Nomcebo Mkhaliphi first noticed the blood discharged from her vagina, she was shocked. Confused, she turned to her older sisters for advice. “My sisters told me that they were experiencing the same every month and that they used fabric, toilet paper and newspapers as sanitary wear,” recalls the now 45-year-old Mkhaliphi. She had to follow suit and use these materials because she had no money to buy sanitary pads. Mkhaliphi and her four siblings were single-handedly raised by their father in a poor household in rural Makhonza, south of Eswatini. Mkhaliphi’s parents had separated when she was nine, so conversations about menstruation were never had, both at home and school.  Recounting her experience with periods invokes sad emotions for Mkhaliphi. She had three significant moments at school where her periods put her at the centre of gossip, bullying and humiliation. At some point, she stained her tunic, followed by other incidents where a toilet paper and a newspaper she wore in the place of a sanitary pad fell to the ground after getting soaked, right in front of other learners. “These incidents lowered my self-esteem because other students used my experience to bully me,” says the mother of two boys and a girl. Instead of dropping out of school like other girls...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Africa Development & Aid Editors' Choice Featured Gender Headlines Health Poverty & SDGs Regional Categories TerraViva United Nations Women's Health Eswatini International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) Joint U Source Type: news

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