Breaking the Silence: Menstrual Hygiene in Lesotho

Jun 25, 2024

Period stigma is a pervasive issue in Lesotho, much like in many other countries around the world. The topic of menstrual hygiene is shrouded in taboo, leaving many young girls unprepared and uninformed when they first experience menstruation. As Lesotho is a religious country (80% Christian) often young girls feel as though they are being punished by a higher power when they first get their periods. The lack of education around menstruation means they are unaware of how to manage their periods with care and dignity.

This issue is multifaceted and has far-reaching consequences:

  1. Lack of Supplies and Education: Many girls in Lesotho do not have access to the necessary supplies to manage their periods. This lack of resources often leads to them missing numerous days of school each month, impacting their education and future opportunities. Without proper menstrual hygiene products, girls are forced to use unsafe and unsanitary methods, further compromising their health and well-being.

  2. Vulnerability and Exploitation: The taboo surrounding menstruation means that many girls are unaware of what menstruation means for their bodies. This ignorance can make them vulnerable to exploitation by boys and men who may take advantage of their lack of knowledge. Girls who do not understand the changes in their bodies are less likely to protect themselves from sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation.
  3. Human Trafficking: The lack of education and resources for managing menstruation can also tie into broader issues such as human trafficking in Lesotho. Girls who miss school are more likely to drop out, making them vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The absence of a safe and supportive environment exacerbates their vulnerability, making them easy targets for traffickers who prey on their desperation and lack of opportunities. More information on the dangers of human trafficking can be found here.
young girls in lesotho, with siblings
girl at desk smiling

Breaking the Cycle

For years, Help Lesotho has been dedicated to tackling these challenges and breaking the stigma surrounding menstrual hygiene in the country. Through the Pearl Program and the Young Mother Program, we educate women and girls about their bodies and how to manage menstruation safely. Our initiatives also extend to boys and men, teaching them about menstruation and fostering respect towards women and girls, creating a more informed and supportive community.

Menstrual hygiene is not just a health issue; it is a matter of human rights and dignity. By addressing period stigma and providing the necessary education and resources, we can help ensure that girls in Lesotho can attend school, protect themselves from exploitation, and lead healthier, more empowered lives. Breaking the silence around menstruation is a critical step towards achieving gender equality and improving the lives of girls and women in Lesotho.

classroom, menstrual hygiene education
young mothers in Lesotho

Help Lesotho’s Sanitary Kits

As a part of our Gifts That Give Hope collection, we offer donors the opportunity to purchase sanitary kits to be distributed to girls and women in need, in Lesotho. These kits include approximately six months worth of supplies including: a box of sanitary pads, underwear, soap and a washcloth. A Sanitary Kit goes a long way towards helping a girl manage her period with confidence, dignity and ease. To make your donation for a kit, click here.

sanitary kit stat