Home > Bangladesh > Bangladesh – Hygiene classes help poor women break taboos

Bangladesh – Hygiene classes help poor women break taboos

In sharp contrast to her questioner, who tip-toes around the delicate subject, Akhi Sultana belts out a full-throated response that is audible to everyone in a room full of strangers.

“Before, when I had my period, I could not change my rags or wash properly,” the 16-year-old says, referring to the strips of old saris that poor Bangladeshi women use to manage menstruation because they cannot afford tampons or sanitary pads. “I always felt shaky and afraid because there was no privacy in the latrines and no water nearby to wash with,” Ms Sultana says. “Now there is a water pump adjacent to the latrine and it is private.”

She lives in the Zakirer slum in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, one of dozens of cramped settlements where a third of the city’s 10m people reside. The pump and latrine she refers to were installed thanks to Water­Aid, the charity the Financial Times is supporting this year in its seasonal appeal. But equally significant – in a society where women are often treated as second or third-class citizens – is the way she is talking: forthright, matter-of-fact, unabashed.

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Categories: Bangladesh Tags: ,
  1. March 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

    women should have equal rights. like for hygienic purposes, women must have the sufficient supplies and cleansing.

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