Zonta Club of Colombo III addresses period poverty on International Women's Day and more

After learning about their country's period poverty rate and that many girls miss classes during their menstruation, the Zonta Club of Colombo III partnered with local businesses to raise funds to help girls stay in school and provide female hygiene products. Period poverty is the lack of education on menstruation and having little or no access to essential sanitation for basic hygiene during the menstruation period.

According to a study by UNICEF, 60% of school teachers in Sri Lanka think menstruation blood is impure, and 80% think bathing should be avoided during periods. A 2022 survey by the policy advocacy group, Advocata found that period poverty or being unable to afford sanitary products among the 5.3 million women of reproductive age in Sri Lanka is about 50%. The high cost of menstrual products has made these items viewed as semi-luxury items for many women and girls.

On 8 March, the club donated menstrual hygiene products to 161 girls from Maryam Girls School in Colombo. They also conducted an educational program on menstrual hygiene with a doctor and an informative session with the Women and Children's Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police. Students also received an e-flyer with vital information on menstrual hygiene.

Over the next couple of weeks, club visited Roman Catholic Girls School and St. Mary's Girl's School to hand over more menstrual hygiene products, reaching about 350 girls. These donations can change the girls' futures by helping them manage their menstrual health and reduce dropout rates.

Celebrating Rose Day
To celebrate Rose Day, the club invited several unique and accomplished women representing various sectors of society who have been inspirational to each member and role models to their communities. These women received recognition for their instrumental contribution to their immediate environment.

The club was moved by the recipients’ empowering life stories and how they inspired the respective members, and their communities were related.