Menstrual education is often given in the shape of a medical lesson, focusing on period problems and products and using an anatomical model to teach about ovaries and vagina. But shouldn’t learning about your monthly bleeding also include the question why it’s still a taboo subject? Tell girls there’s no need to be ashamed of their periods? And approach the whole subject in a more playful way? With comics, online guides, (mobile) games, and books, these organisations set a great example of making menstruation education fun.
For both girls and boys
Hold it one way, and it’s a guide for girls. But turn it upside down, and it’s written for boys. UNICEF’s comic book is meant for children of both sexes. It was created after an Indonesian survey discovered a lot of schoolgirls were being bullied by boys in their class about periods and period stains. Time for a change. This comic explains that menstruation is a completely normal thing. With results: the percentage of girls who felt that menstruation should be kept secret fell from 38% to 20% whereas the percentage of boys who thought it was wrong to bully menstruating
Move the magnetic egg
A jigsaw puzzle, playing carts and even a board game. The Champa Kit has it all. Even a book with moving parts, like a magnetic egg, that demonstrates what happens during the menstrual cycle. Flip charts tell the story of Champa, a 12 years old Indian girl. Originally, this kit was intended for adolescent girls in rural India. For more Indian educational products that have to do with menstrual hygiene, like building blocks and a magnetic dart game with myths and facts, click here.
Make Maya happy
The goal of this story-driven mobile adventure game? To have the health and happiness levels of Maya, a 13 years old Indian girl, as high as possible by the end of the seven days. Maya’s 7 Day Challenge was developed to promote good menstrual hygiene and emphasise the importance of girls continuing school when they’re menstruating. It’s designed by the Finnish game designer Tuuli Saarinen who collaborated with Indian healthcare workers to ensure the girls playing can relate to the life that’s depicted in the game.
Catch the pads with your panties
Girls in Pakistan are often shamed into staying at home during their menstruation. They sometimes believe they shouldn’t bathe or cook when they’re on their period. MoHiM wants to bust those myths and prejudices while teaching about period management and hygiene. The mobile game app, developed by the entrepreneur Mariam Adil and her GRID team, is based on the concept of aim and collect. Catch the pads with your pink panties and avoid items that shouldn’t be used to absorb the blood like newspapers, rags and leaves. Download it in the iTunes store.
Look it up on Menstrupedia
What’s a tampon? What is menstruation? How long does it last? Where to leave your used sanitary towels? You’ll find the answers to these questions, and many others, on Menstrupedia. This online guide was developed by the Indian Aditi Gupta and her team with the goal of shattering menstrual taboos in India. There’s also a Menstrupedia comic book, that is now available in ten languages and focuses on the adventures of a group of friends. Pinki, Jiya and Mira learn about periods and puberty from Pinki’s older sister.
For decades, menstruation education in schools has been controlled by corporations selling disposable menstrual products. According to #periodpositive founder and menstruation education researcher Chella Quint, this has to stop. Why? Because apart from promoting their own products, these companies also reinforce menstrual taboos by associating periods with shame and secrecy. Agree with Quint? Check out her recently launched petition Brands Off!.
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