Wunders: An Anti-Trafficking Program

What is Wunders? 

One of the most vulnerable times in a young woman’s life is when she begins to menstruate. Menstruation around the globe comes with shame, uncertainty, and anxiety. It also is accompanied by lots of questions and concerns – “will I have monthly supplies?” or “will I be able to attend school this month?” The Wunder’s program sees and understands the negative impact of period poverty and is actively fighting against it. 

Wunders equips girls and women to thrive around the world by helping girls stay in school through locally-made sustainable menstrual supplies and community-based education. Wunders strives to give back young girls and women the dignity they deserve before, during, and after their period. 

What is period poverty? 

Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, hand washing facilities, toilets, menstrual hygiene education, and waste management [1]. While the term period poverty is relatively new, awareness and discussion of the global menstrual health issue and stigma has been long known. 

With more than 800 million women menstruating daily, promoting menstrual education and supplies is crucial to support women and young girls [2]. The fight against period poverty is a fight to give girls back the dignity they rightfully deserve while keeping them from more vulnerabilities such as trafficking. 

How is period poverty linked to human trafficking?

Vulnerabilities are a huge link to human trafficking. With the start of menstruation being one of the most vulnerable times in a young girl’s life, the connection between the two is almost magnetic.

The lack of access to hygiene supplies directly leads to girls dropping out of school. In a national survey of 1,000 menstruating teens, 1 in 5 struggled to afford period products and 4 in 5 either missed or knew someone who missed class time because they did not have access to period products [3]. 

In India alone, over 23% of girls drop out of school when they start menstruating [4]. In a study conducted in Ethiopia, 56% of girls stated they missed school because they didn’t have a pad [5]. 

In Kenya specifically, 50% of school-aged girls don’t have access to sanitary products [6], while some even share used pads [7]. 65% of women in Kenya were unable to afford period products [8].

When a young girl drops out of school and does not have education about her body, she is more likely to enter a child marriage, experience early pregnancy, experience domestic violence, and become a victim of human trafficking.

Period poverty not only can cause great physical health risks, but it also prevents women from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth – like school. 

That’s why Wunders is addressing period poverty through locally-made sustainable menstrual supplies and education to both young girls and boys.

Wunders keeps girl’s in school – giving them more opportunities for their future!

The cultural shame attached to menstruation and shortage of resources disempowers women and keeps them from going to school and work every day. 

The power of investing in girls and women is evident. A girl that completes one extra year of school can earn up to 20% more as an adult [9]. The economic opportunity from educating and keeping girls in school doesn’t stop within the family. Prioritizing menstrual health education and sustainable supplies will greatly increase opportunities and reduce the ever-growing vulnerabilities to trafficking. 

All girls and women deserve dignity during their periods. Wunder’s holistic solution to this worldwide period poverty problem is helping empower women, rid of shame, and give back their dignity. 

Read more about Wunders or support this work here: www.wunderspartners.com.

 

SOURCES:

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/period-poverty#:~:text=Period%20poverty%20is%20a%20lack,or%20a%20combination%20of%20these.

[2] https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/period-poverty-everything-you-need-to-know/

[3] https://policylab.chop.edu/blog/period-poverty-public-health-crisis-we-dont-talk-about

[4] https://doi.org/10.4103/2249-4863.154627

[5] https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1118

[6] https://www.one.org/international/blog/why-menstruation-shouldnt-stop-education-period/#:~:text=In%20Kenya%20alone%2C%20UNESCO%20estimates,embarrassment%20and%20fear%20of%20leaking.

[7] https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2020/2/24/i-wish-i-was-a-boy-the-kenyan-girls-fighting-period-poverty

[8] https://www.dandc.eu/en/article/kenya-has-scrapped-tax-menstrual-products-they-are-still-too-expensive-rural-women

[9]https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54aeb989e4b02736a774dd68/t/5a1f1feb085229ae4d31861c/1511989227671/GR_Curriculum_Resources_STATISTICS_Final+2017+%281%29.pdf

mm
Author: Victoria Fisher

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *