On behalf of the YOUR TIME Women's Empowering Foundation , executive director Damon Weigl of the Life by Life Foundation (lifebylife.ca) conducted a survey among young Indigenas, Mestizas, and Afrodescendientes women in the very underprivileged Medellin Colombia barrio of Niquitao. Keep in mind that we have designated this as one of the target areas .
Following cultural tradition, young Indigenas ( women of the Indigenous communities displaced from El Choco), are kept enclosed in a shelter during their menstrual period (moontime). However, once in Medellin and living an urban lifestyle, they are no longer sequestered during their monthly moontime. Of the Indigena at Life for Life, 33% have missed school or a social event due to their menstrual period and lack of menstrual hygiene supplies (disposable pads and tampons). Although they have relatively easy access to pharmacies where they can buy these items, 83% have had to choose between purchasing them or necessities such as food, school supplies, and clothing. This same number report incidents of harassment, intimidation, and embarrassment, when their clothes have been blood-stained as a result of their menstrual period.
Mestizas are mixed-race women who historically have come from poor farms; of these women, 43% have missed school due to their menstrual period and lack of menstrual products. Over seventy percent of Mestiza teenaged girls have been unable to purchase pads or tampons when they needed them; over half report being targeted with unwanted and unwelcome behaviour by others when menstruating.
Unfortuately, there was only a small sample of Afrodescendientes to include in this survey. (Afrodescendientes are members of the African diaspora who displaced from the Pacific region to the interior of Colombia.) Half of these young women have missed school when they have been unable to access menstrual supplies. All of them have been harassed and embarrassed during their period because of the lack of menstrual supplies due to financial constraints.
Although the survey size is small, it is considered to be a representative sample of young impoverished women in urban Medellin, and reflective of the general picture of the poor there. There was a unanimous agreement among the young women that a reusable menstrual cup would improve their lives. In providing these cups, YOUR TIME looks forward to helping these disadvantaged women, as well as those in our own province, by removing one source of monthly indignity and humiliation.
YOUR TIME wishes to thank all of you who have already contributed to our project or have expressed interest in doing so in the future.
President of the YOUR TIME Women's Empowerment Foundation