CASEY Hughes, of Mandurah, has returned from an eight-week placement in Busia, Uganda, for Seeds of Ministry.
The Curtin University business student was involved in a reusable sanitary pad project.
Her role was to develop a sustainable business plan for selling and distributing affordable reusable sanitary pads, which aimed to empower women through employment opportunities, increase school attendance in girls, decrease the number of young girls getting married, decrease teenage pregnancy, and decrease death in childbirth.
In rural Busia, sanitary pads are not affordable. This means many girls use unhygienic methods to manage menstruation, such as old pieces of cloth, pieces of foam mattress, and even leaves. Using these materials makes women and girls vulnerable to infection.
Schoolgirls who use improper materials can become very self-conscious and some even drop out of school to avoid this.
It is also common for young girls to get married earlier because they believe their husbands will provide sanitary pads for them, but often this is not the case. In extreme cases, young girls sleep with older men for access to sanitary pads.