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a group of young girls and women in bangladesh holding up sign boards with positive messages following a menstrual hygiene session by islamic relief

Essential menstrual hygiene support for women in Bangladesh

Every month 1.8 billion women and girls around the world are menstruating. 

From this, an estimated 500 million lack access to basic sanitary products. Access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities can make menstruation a more hygienic and comfortable experience.

It can also prevent serious health risks like urinary tract infections, which can lead to infertility or birth complications, and decrease women’s risk of infections, like hepatitis B and thrush.

That’s why Islamic Relief Bangladesh, with your generous donations, offered a series of workshops to better educate women and girls from the persecuted Rohingya community now living in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. 

Supporting women in refugee camps

In 2017, around 700,000 Rohingya people, also known as Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMNs), fled to Bangladesh where two main camps were set up in the Cox’s Bazar area. 

Today there are an estimated 1 million people living in these camps. Around half of these are women. 

Islamic Relief has been on the ground here since 2008 helping this community access clean water and sanitation facilities such as latrines and bathing cubicles.

Promoting good hygiene practices has been one of Islamic Relief’s main initiatives in Cox’s Bazar.We recently began a project to help train women on how to make reusable sanitary pads.

The women in turn will teach others in the community. 

Empowering women and girls with knowledge about menstrual hygiene is not just a step towards progress, but a leap towards a healthier and safer future. Ignoring their education on this vital subject puts their well-being and dignity at risk, hindering their potential to thrive and contribute to society

says Islamic Relief’s Head of Global Advocacy, Shahin Ashraf

Part of the workshop debunked myths in the Rohingya patriarchal society, like that menstruation was unclean and a curse.

“Just remembering to wash hands after changing menstrual products can help stop the spread of infections, like hepatitis B and thrush.” Shahin continued to say.

Other topics covered in the series of workshops included foods to eat iron and protein rich foods during menstruation. Participants were also invited to share their personal stories of their ‘first day of menstruation’ helping them break down taboos and express their concerns and fears. 

With your support, we will continue our vital work to educate and empower women and girls across the globe. 

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