"I always hear about issues that women face due to lack of personal hygiene, but because of customs and traditions, i cannot always ask about this subject. Now I am very happy because I will be able to understand this information scientifically and in a correct way." Fadiyeh speaks with purpose when she imagines the impact that her Enterprise will have in Akkar district for the Syrian refugees in her community.
Through the Ambassador of Women's Health training, Fadiyeh is being empowered with the confidence and knowledge she needs to shatter stigmas for women and girls, and support more open dialogue surrounding important women's health issues.
Navigating the best route to reach Syrian refugees has been both challenging and rewarding as we have explored various partnerships, learned about the cultural, social, and economic context, and puzzled through the supply chain. With the support of Mercy Corps, we were able to conduct a baseline evaluation of menstrual health needs and perceptions of washable pads in early February. Through focus group discussions, facilitators learned that the taboos around menstruation were already slowly started to crack as mothers opened up more to their daughters. However many girls still described their first period as a time that was disturbing, upsetting, or confusing. At the same time, interest in washable pads was mixed as some considered it an old fashioned solution and others were intrigued at the cost-saving and environmental opportunities. It was nearly unanimous that learning a new skill for a small business was a much needed investment for the young women!
Armed with this information, our organizations determined the best way forward was to work directly to the local partners who are operating on the ground. Thus the February trainings were pushed to the end of March as Days for Girls Project Manager Khayrieh Al Assaad mobilized our Enterprise Leaders across Akkar district.
In just a few days, the Days for Girls International training team will travel to Akkar to conduct our Leadership Launchpad training program for Enterprises, and conduct our first of many distributions at various refugee camps throughout the district. DfG Kits and fabric are already on their way, and sewing machines have been purchased and are awaiting use. As Fadiyeh says, "I am excited about this project because I will support my family with a small income from sewing, and be able to deliver some health information to Syrian women refugees — and even in a small way preserve the environment."
We're excited too, Fadiyeh!
This post was originally published by GlobalGiving.