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Empowering Change: Taslima’s Mission to Promote Menstrual Hygiene and Nutrition


Taslima talks about iron tablets to her friend during menstrual times

Taslima, a 17-year-old girl, has always attended school regularly and grown up in a loving environment surrounded by friends and family. However, in her rural community, traditional beliefs persist, requiring menstruating girls and women to adhere to archaic practices lacking scientific basis.

When a JANO volunteer asked Taslima if she would help share the message of healthy eating among her peers, she eagerly accepted. Through this opportunity, she learned about nutritious foods such as guava and unripe banana, which help mitigate decreased iron levels that occur naturally during the monthly cycle. Taslima said, “I try to maintain healthy food habits during these special days of the month. At school, I talk about my role in the Community Support Group and tell other girls about taking iron tablets and their benefits. Girls actually come up to me and tell me how the tablets help them by improving their iron levels.”

This process took time, but Taslima became an ideal advocate for a healthy diet during the menstrual cycle. Even before her involvement with JANO, she knew about health fluctuations during menstruation, and her parents were supportive of her efforts. Taslima found that convincing others was relatively simple. “The best way is to present yourself as an example. I benefit from taking iron tablets – so I simply share my experience with others.”

Taslima plans to expand her advocacy, informing and educating more adolescent girls about health risks during the menstrual cycle. She encourages them to eat nutritious foods and take vitamin supplements. With JANO’s support, she has earned the credibility and trust of her peers. Many girls in her community are not allowed to eat eggs on particular days of the month, but such beliefs can further deprive them of the protein and minerals they need.

Learning that they need to eat more nutritious foods instead of cutting things out has empowered Taslima and her friends to feel more in control of their bodies and health. Taslima often saw the JANO volunteer attending Community Support Group meetings, so she felt comfortable discussing various health issues. “She told us about changes to an adolescent girl’s body and possible vitamin deficiencies during our menstrual cycle. I knew nothing about iron levels or that we needed a supplement. JANO asked me to get the other girls together, and now we take the tablets once a week. We’re in a group with other girls, and pregnant and lactating mothers,” explained Taslima.

The JANO volunteer regularly checks in with the group to ensure they’re taking their tablets properly. Taslima and her peers also support each other by ensuring everyone follows the same advice. “The volunteer checks in with us regularly, that we’re taking our tablets properly, and then we ask around ourselves to make sure everyone is following the same advice,” she says.

Taslima’s dedication and example have created a ripple effect in her community, promoting better menstrual hygiene and nutrition practices among young girls and women.

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