28 May – Menstrual Health Day

Education for Menstrual Health -
an important key for the future of schoolgirls!

This has always been an important topic for Gudrun Haupter, long-time IAW Convenor of the Commission of Health. For years, mandated by Deutscher Frauenring, the German Affiliate of IAW, she had worked intensively with IAW member organisations in Africa. As a former IAW representative at WHO Geneva Gudrun Haupter knew about the precarious health condition of women and girls in developing countries.
Thanks to Gudrun Haupter’ s great international experience and many excellent contacts the IAW Water and Pads WP project could start in 2017 with her as its Co-coordinator. Now due to her increasing age-related health-problems, Gudrun Haupter can no longer fulfil this task. We all who are involved with this project express our great thanks to her, and we wish her a lot of joy and all the best.
Ursula Nakamura-Stoecklin, co-coordinator from the very beginning

We are very happy that the Water and Pads project will continue to be coordinated by two Co-Coordinators: Ursula Nakamura-Stoecklin, who has been with the WP-project from the beginning, and Heidi Bodmer also from ADF-SVF, the Swiss Affiliate of IAW, who succeeds Gudrun Haupter as the new Co-Coordinator.

Heidi Bodmer has a great experience in project-management and brings in a lot of motivating ideas. For two years she has already been very active and knows the WP project perfectly well. This means that in future all our work can continue in the best possible way.

Here are a few thoughts from Heidi Bodmer on menstrual health:

The monthly period, menstruation, is astonishing. It turns young girls into women. From a biological point of view, this is an amazing development. Unfortunately, these young women often do not understand what is happening in and on their bodies or why everything is changing. Although the newly awakened woman is in many places celebrated, and the facts are openly being discussed, unfortunately this progressive approach is still rather an exception. Far too often schoolgirls have to hide in shame. They cannot attend their classes due to the lack of hygiene articles. Many schools don’t have toilets at all, or the sanitation is very poor without any water.

Menstruation is often a painful hostage that turns up every month. Most of the time one hates it, but every now and then women are just happy when the so called curse announces itself. Sometimes women simply wait in vain for this bleeding! This can trigger a total feeling of happiness, as a new desired life is announced! But it can as well be a disaster if the pregnancy is unwanted. In this case very often there is no skilled assistance. If then one resorts to an illegal method, the young woman’s health is often endangered even sometimes resulting in death.

That is why our “Water and Pads” project is so important! 
Thanks to education, hopefully there will be a little less suffering in this world. 



3 Responses

  1. Dear Gudrun,
    thank you so much for all the work you did and the good friend you are to IAW oldies.

    I am very glad that Ursula found Heidi to continue this very important project..

  2. I like it when I hear that someone is trying to help young women understand the stigma that is attached to a women’s monthly menstruation issues. I recently began my company B-discreet to offer information and That Time of the Month menstrual kits to teens and women, as well as information on how to deal with the pain many teens and women suffer with during this time of the month. This December my products will be sold on Amazon.com as well as at my website.

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