Changemaker: Sana Lokhandwala
Country of Implementation: Pakistan
In Pakistan, menstruation remains a taboo subject. The ever-pervasive stigma around menstruation is a product of cultural myths and long-standing traditions that are transferred across generations. The period is believed to be a sign of impurity, which leads to a pattern of secrecy and shame amongst women and girls. They are faced with restrictions at home and are often restricted from participating in various activities at school, leading to increased isolation, low self-esteem, and missed opportunities. This stigmatization has produced an enormous gap in knowledge about menstruation and the associated practices, which in turn has led to increased health risks, absence from school and work, and loss of opportunities. Balochistan is one of the most marginalized and remote provinces in Pakistan where people still lack access to many basic facilities such as electricity and internet. While talking about menstrual health in the conservative communities of Balochistan is still considered taboo, the unavailability and high cost of menstrual products further exacerbate the situation, putting girls' and women’s health at risk.
HER Pakistan organized Puberty Education Sessions along with the screening of “Fatima & Baba - A Period Story” to educate and empower adolescent girls about puberty and associated changes,
especially menstruation. Created by HER Pakistan, “Fatima & Baba - A Period Story” is Pakistan’s first animated series on menstruation. The series empowers adolescent girls with the knowledge about their body and their transitions; promotes healthy practices; changes their attitude towards menstruation and other changes; prepares them and helps combat many mental health issues adolescent girls face with the onset of menarche. The project is carefully designed using an adolescent girl-centered approach. Period kits were also distributed after the sessions to promote hygienic management of menstruation. 200 girls and women were educated during the project. You can find more about HER Pakistan’s work here: