All-girls school breaks period taboos

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After 30 minutes of breaktime, all the students return to their classrooms feeling happy and energetic.

The place I am talking about is Bondhere Girls’ School.

One of the reasons for the girls’ dynamism and confidence is that their school has a unique approach to periods.

Despite menstruation being a taboo topic in Somali culture, Bondhere Girls’ School has special classes on period awareness and what to do during this special time of the month. It also provides the supplies the girls need when they have their periods.

One of the eighth grade students, Hafso Ahmed, comes in from break feeling as relaxed and joyful as her classmates even though she is having her period, a time when many girls feel uncomfortable and tense.

“When we were in elementary school, the principal came to us one day and told us about periods and everything we would need when our bodies changed and we started to menstruate,” she says.

“We were all ashamed at the beginning but our attitudes soon changed.”

Hafso explains that when girls are menstruating, the teachers give them everything they need, including sanitary products and underwear. They give them medicine if they have period pains.

“This gives us full confidence,” she says.

The principal of the school, Nurto Mohamed Addow, also teaches the classes about periods.

“The students really did not believe that this was one of the subjects they were studying,” she says. “They were all interested because they hadn’t had the opportunity to learn about menstruation before.”

“Now they come to my office and confidently ask me for the things they need when they have their periods.”

Most of the girls I spoke to at Bondhere school told me they no longer feel anxious when they are menstruating. They said they feel fully confident because they now have all the information, support and supplies they need.

By Fathi Mohamed Ahmed,Chief Editor, Bilan Media