Monica, 17, is a member of a children’s club located in a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in South Sudan where has lived since July 2013, when she and her parents were forced to flee their home after it came under attack.
Monica is one of the busiest girls in the camp. When she is not at school or helping out at home with family chores, she is attending meetings and activities organized by the children’s club to teach children and young people about their rights – especially their rights as they relate to menstrual hygiene.
Using a peer-to-peer learning approach facilitated by Plan International, Monica is passing on her life lessons to younger children in the camp.
“When I first started my monthly cycle, I did not know anything,” she said. “So I went to my mother who gave me some pads and taught me how to use them. Sometimes, my family cannot afford to buy me pads so I have to stay at home.”
Using her knowledge on menstrual hygiene, Monica advises young girls from her community and school. Over the years, she has taught hundreds of girls about what to expect when their periods begin and offers simple instructions on how to deal with it.
“When you wake up in the morning and realize that your monthly cycle has begun, take a shower and put on clean knickers and pads,” she said.
Plan has also constructed 56 latrines, contributing to improved hygiene and sanitation, which keep diseases like diarrhea and typhoid at bay.
Monica wants to make things better for girls in the camp.
“Our girls require a lot of attention, especially during adolescence because many of them do not know how to deal with their periods,” she said. “I would like a regular supply of re-usable pads to be provided to girls in the camp to make their lives easier.”