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Mensuration awareness boosts self- confidence in adolescent girls

Otto Tendayi Mponda

When my single mum passed away
I was left to take care of my siblings alone
among them a girl of adolescent age.
It was a tough role to carry over
but being the eldest, I had to brace up.

We had many challenges along the way.
But my greatest challenge of all was reacting to my adolescent sister
when she told me she had had her first menstrual period.
I did not know how to react.
And, being male, I did not not know what this entailed.
Nevertheless, I commended her for her bravery in telling me, assured her that everything was okay
and accompanied her to the local clinic for further advice from the nurses.
That was when I realized that also educating men about menstruation could benefit the girl child in a way or two.

To some girls, having their first menstrual cycle is a positive step towards becoming a woman
but for some who may not have been well advised on the matter,
their first experience can be nerve wrecking and unmemorable.
If an adolescent girl child is not prepared well for menstruation or does not have the appropriate resources to use, it can affect her self- confidence and eventually become a barrier in her school performance.
In this view, I believe our primary/ secondary school curriculum needs to spread awareness of menstruation, and possibly put structures in place where teachers/ nurses could be trained to counsel girls with menstruation related problems.
We also could possibly have community groups of women stepping in to help advise young girls who might not have anyone to help advise them on menstruation issues. These grassroots community groups could also extend their helping hand by providing sanitary pads to the less privileged girl child so that she wouldn't have to miss school when having her periods.

Although preparing girls for menstruation still remains a tacky subject
especially in our dynamic families of today,
where you find sisters only living with their brothers or daughters only living with their single parent fathers.
It remains an essential topic that still needs our attention.
Lets not forget the basics when helping the girl child
and know that mensuration awareness boosts self- confidence in adolescent girls,
and that it is such confidence in taking care of their bodies that takes them far in life.

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Comments

Rebecca R's picture

Good brothers are a blessing

Tendayi,

You are an amazing brother. I am a woman and I panicked when I saw that my niece's body was starting to develop. We have had a roundabout conversation about changes one should expect in our body and they were very hard.

For your sister to be able to tell you about her period, well, that shows how great a brother you are. I know this because I have sent my brothers to buy pads for me from the shop and I only send those that I know will understand, those that I share a special bond with.

And you are right, educating men about this is beneficial. There should be a more open dialogue about bodies and growth that is not gender-restrictive. I don't understand why people fear it so much. (Yes, I know I am yet to have that discussion. Heh heh)

-Rebecca

Oh Rebecca that's is so true. l'ts funny you spoke of special bonds between people because it takes trust for this kind of dialogue to happen. I know of a male cousin of mine who would refuse to be sent by his bigger sister to buy toilet paper because he said it gave him a bad image being seen by his friends walking with and holding toilet paper rolls in town..later on sanitary pads. Definitely, there should be more dialogue of this nature that is not gender restrictive.

Otto

Aminah's picture

are you for real? :)

Can we have more men like you around here?
I mean seriously. I am so happy for your sister who have such a great brother like yourself.

And bringing this topic up for this assignment is like so very innovative and brave.
Your are very right. We need to start with the basics. and yes open dialogues is so very important.

One day you are going to be great dad. (that is if you already are not).

May God bless you Otto.

Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Maya Norton's picture

Otto, interesting, creative,

Otto, interesting, creative, and unexpected - not to mention important - response to this question. What a blessing you must be to your sisters.

How old were you when your mom (may her memory be a blessing) passed away?

~ Maya

nifkinz's picture

Thank you for being such a

Thank you for being such a great brother! If more sisters had brothers like you, the world could be a better place! I applaud your strength and resolve for dealing with so many things in order to be that great brother. Thank you for sharing this!

Becky Frary

nifkinz's picture

Thank you for being such a

Thank you for being such a great brother! If more sisters had brothers like you, the world could be a better place! I applaud your strength and resolve for dealing with so many things in order to be that great brother. Thank you for sharing this!

Becky Frary

Dana Anderson's picture

Insightful

These kinds of creative and insightful solutions are what can truly make a change, and I'm so inspired by your take on girls education. I feel we often forget that we are all in this world together, and we will find it difficult to solve any problem with only half of our resources. Women and men must work together to solve issues that ultimately affect them both!

Thank you so much for your personal story and thank you for acting as a true leader for equality and empowerment!

Best,
Dana

smothyz's picture

enlightening

i must admit that i never though it from the angle you have come from. i am thankful to God that your sister had you as a brother and you took a step to take her to a local clinic to be explained for further what to do. many men shy away from this topic and thus they hardly talk about it. in this day and age its still a taboo that girls are considered unclean during this period of their life and for you to shed a light on it and be a male........that's amazing.

i agree with you that it should be introduced in school, for personally that's how i learnt it. people came to my school and taught us all about it and whats sanitary towels are. i never remember my own mother talking to me about it.

kudos my brother from another mother and thank you for what you did for your sister.

claudia.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that. -Martin Luther King Jnr.

hillary24's picture

Thanks Kudos

Hello good people, I'm grateful for all your comments and advise. You all inspire me in so many ways and l'm grateful to be amongst your company.
Otto

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