University Students Train to become Worldwide Health Ambassadors

University Students Train to become Worldwide Health Ambassadors
Attendees of the Ambassadors for Women's Health training at Claflin University.

Fifteen young women recently learned about a unique way to give women and girls back their dignity. They took part in an all-day workshop to become Ambassadors of Women’s Health at United Methodist-related Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

The November training was led by Days for Girls International, a non-profit organization committed to providing sustainable menstrual hygiene solutions to women and girls worldwide. The workshop was co-sponsored by Claflin University’s Office of Counseling and United Methodist Women. Topics covered included male and female reproductive systems, changes during puberty, self-defense, and how to care for and use washable feminine hygiene kits.

“I really enjoyed the workshop,” said Jamaica Miller, a 21-year-old junior from Charleston, South Carolina. “I thought I already knew a lot as a biology major, but I learned new things. For example, the average menstrual cycle is nearly a month long. The cycle is not just when a woman bleeds. It includes buildup of the womb and ovulation.”

“We learned valuable information,” said Brittany Isaac, a 26-year-old graduate of Benedict College who represented the South Carolina United Methodist Women Limitless group for young women. “We learned about girls around the world who need kits. I want to teach this in churches and communities.”

“The self-defense was very practical,” said 19-year-old junior Chinonyerem Kalu-Onuma from Nigeria. “I am confident that if I am ever attacked, I will know how to stay safe. I can teach this to empower other women.”

Giving Women Back Their Rights

Ambassadors distribute kits and provide health education in more than 99 countries. The kits make a huge difference in girls’ and women’s lives: In some of the poorer regions of the world, girls and women simply aren’t able to go to school when they are menstruating because they cannot afford to buy feminine hygiene items. The health education also breaks the stigma and misinformation that exists around women’s bodies. Ambassadors help give women and girls back their rights to education and health.

Dr. Gloria McCutcheon, interim chair of Claflin’s Biology Department and advisor of the Public Health Alliance Club is working with students to start a Days for Girls chapter on campus.

 “The reproductive health kits can provide tools for our students to engage in cultural experiences and service. We can make a difference by leading the way for others to follow.”

Donna Akuamoah is executive secretary for International Ministries with United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 1/11/2017 12:00:00 AM