Phil Kaye (a spoken word poet) once said, ‘if you say something over and over again, it loses its meaning’. Well, this is how I have viewed my volunteering experiences in the past months. Over time, I have found myself lacking that selflessness and satisfaction that comes with volunteer work. This was until i joined Nawiri Sisters Foundation a couple of months ago.
I joined Nawiri Sisters with little to no information about the organisation.
My research had gotten me as far as, it was an organisation started by a student from the university I attended and specifically worked with girls to educate them about menstrual health. It is safe to say that this was not even close to scraping what the organisation is truly about.
I remember my first drive to St. Alolysius Gonzaga High school. I arrived at the meeting place anxious and intrigued. I had spent most of my time conducting research on menstrual health and writing material that would educate the girls and demystify most of the myths. Therefore, my anxiety was over the roof. I tried to picture the girls and wondered what I could truly offer considering I knew close to nothing that they did not know already.
Upon arriving at the school, we were ushered into the auditorium that was full of young high school girls engaged in conversations that made me miss the thrill of being in high school. After our introduction, we got into the agenda of the day: conducting our survey by asking the girls a series of open-ended questions centred around menstrual health.
I remember the first girl who approached me. Her confidence and poise was unmatched. She stared at me with this sense of confidence that I lacked at her age. I envied it. After asking her a few questions, I was surprised by how much she knew already on menstruation.
Studies show that in some communities, menstrual health has always been a taboo and even more so when I was a 12-year-old. As a young girl going through such significant changes, help and advice is always hard to come about. If you can get over the shame of asking for help, now you must deal with sorting through the judgement, fiction and contradicting advice that is out there. This is why I envied those girls.
The more I interacted with them, the more I realised how lucky they were. Organisations such as Nawiri Sisters continue to shape the lives of millions of girls all over the world. They eradicate the stigma and shame by approaching the girls with open arms and walking with them through this menstruation journey until they are at a safe place.
I cannot even emphasize the amount of research that goes into these drives. After spending close to over 3 weeks perusing through articles and papers on menstrual health, I realised the importance of the work which the volunteers and the Foundation’s management does. Before approaching these girls with any information, planning is key. One cannot rely on information that is misleading. It is adamant that we can back our sources and when approached with questions, one can offer help or direct them to it.
I also found myself learning. I learnt that these girls were no different to me. As they navigate
through life, they need help. They need organisations such as Nawiri Sisters Foundation to
help them in their journey in life. It is safe to say that they are in more than capable and
dedicated hands. I believe in the Foundation’s vision, and it is one that cannot be underrated.
WE ARE NAWIRI.