‘Nomo Fraet’ is a short film produced by CARE International, with support from UNICEF and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to investigate how Menstrual Hygiene Management is helping girls stay in school in Vanuatu.

The 7-minute film featured interviews with students, teachers and parents who have been touched by CARE’s program, the film demonstrates the real impact of simple but coordinated interventions.

The Country Director for Care International in Vanuatu, Ms Megan Chisholm said that girls faced problems when it comes down to menstruation period.

“The MHM is another program that CARE is carrying out on the island of Tanna and Erromango to give awareness to girls about menstruation, how to keep them clean and using washable sanitary pads that are sewn by Mama’s Laef and to be able to take part in daily activities especially attending schools,” she said.

“These washable sanitary pads are value for money and because of that, we have engaged Mama’s Laef representatives to do the awareness to girls about the menstruation cycle and how to use these pads but all in all we want to raise more awareness about this issue through this short film.”

Ms Chisholm said that CARE has also built two new toilets for six schools on Tanna, one for the boys and one for the girls and an outside hand-washing station.

“Most of the schools have girls being absent from class due to their periods and are shy to use the toilets because they do not have a proper place facilities to cater for their needs during their periods,” she said.

“These hand-washing stations will help them clean their reusable pads, which will cut down on cost of living for their parents each month and be able to take part in days activity.”

CARE’s MHM project was designed to break down the stigma surrounding girl’s menstruation, while educating girls on their changing bodies and providing hygienic and sanitary learning environment.

“Across 13 schools in East Tanna, CARE has distributed MHM kits which include reusable pads, soap, buckets and underwear to girls aged 10 and above,”CARE reported.

“CARE has also built latrines with dedicated MHM facilities- a tap inside a private cubicle so that girls can clean themselves and their reusable pads in a safe and private environment.”

A teacher from Ienaula School on Tanna, Ms Melissa Tevanu acknowledged CARE on behalf of the school for the change it brought to the school especially among the female students.

“The number of girls being absent from class due to their periods have decreased since CARE came to school, the girls said they now feel free to come to class, play and take part in other activities without having to worry about anything,” she said.

“We have 75 girls in school that now have access to MHM kits and are very happy- it’s better for other NGOs like CARE to provide more awareness to girls especially on menstruation cycle in the remotest communities of Vanuatu so girls will not feel left-out during their periods due to shyness or culture limits.” READ MORE