AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) utilized Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021 (MH Day) on May 28 as the launchpad for its newest initiative to support women and girls in need and help keep them in school. The “A Necessity, Not a Luxury!” campaign kicked off to distribute 5 million free sanitary pads globally over the next year.
Events included everything from inspiring marches and nationwide television broadcasts to vital educational sessions and free health screenings. More than 30 AHF country teams worldwide organized MH Day actions highlighting the importance of menstrual hygiene management education that empowers girls to fully participate in society and live a healthy, self-determined life.
“By distributing these sanitary pads, we’re telling these young women and girls that we’re with you – you are not alone – and that you can be your best when you have access to the tools to help you succeed,” said AHF Deputy Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Loretta Wong. “These sanitary pads are absolutely ‘A Necessity, Not a Luxury!’, since the lack of access can lead to increased stigma, harassment, and social exclusion, particularly for adolescent girls and young women. The pads are also critical for girls’ education since they can miss 20% or more of each school year due to their menstrual cycle.”
Every month, 1.8 billion people across the world menstruate. Millions of these girls, women, transgender men and non-binary people of reproductive age are denied the right to manage their monthly menstrual cycle in a dignified, healthy way. AHF will continue partnering with governments and civil society organizations to advocate for wider access to sanitary pads and sufficient menstrual hygiene management facilities that are currently inadequate for an estimated 500 million women and girls.
Click the countries below to check out their photos!