Women's Reproductive Health

Young Women Train as Health Ambassadors

A joint workshop offered by United Methodist Women and Days for Girls trains attendees to help women take charge of their health.

Young Women Train as Health Ambassadors
Rashshana Blackwood (middle) and Bianca Best (right) with Celeste Mergens, CEO of Days for Girls, during the workshop.

When Bianca Best was a teenager, she experienced such debilitating pain that she vowed to become an obstetrician/gynecologist. She made it her goal to “find innovative ways to improve women’s health conditions.” Now Best is a junior biology major from Bennett College for Women.

The young doctor-to-be recently participated in an all-day workshop on women’s hygiene held as a side event during the 60th United Nation Commission on the Status of Women. Best was joined by Rashshana Blackwood, who is a biochemistry major at Claflin University. Both young women attend historically black college, where women’s and reproductive health is often a taboo subject.

The training was jointly held by United Methodist Women and Days for Girls International. Days for Girls is a non-profit organization that provides feminine hygiene and health education to women worldwide. Some 70 girls and women, including 20 United Methodist Women and Limitless members, attended the one-day workshop.

Making a Big Difference

The workshop trained participants how to assemble and care for reusable, sustainable feminine hygiene kits, as well as how to distribute them. These feminine hygiene kits can make a huge difference in girls’ and young 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 reusable Days for Girls hygiene kits give girls back their right to an education.

Participants also learned culturally appropriate ways to teach women and girls about the menstrual cycle, reproductive system, hygiene, self-defense, and how to engage in community education. The distribution of the kits provides a vital opportunity to open a discussion around women’s health and their human rights and to teach young women about their own sexual and maternal health.

Best and Blackwood plan to start Days for Girls teams on their campuses in collaboration with other women’s groups. They see this as an opportunity to promote women’s health on their campuses and to educate the student body.

“This training was really important. We learned about controversial topics that we don’t often hear about, such as sexual health and the male reproductive system. We need open conversation about women’s health on campus.” Blackwood said.

And while Days for Girls distributes hygiene kits all over the world, there is a real need for the kits and the health education right here in the U.S.

“My team will sew and distribute kits on campus and in shelters. We will learn needs of girls worldwide and how we can support. But we understand that the need is right here in our homes too” Bianca stressed.

Our two young health ambassadors are well on their way to making a big difference—around the world and right here at home.

Posted or updated: 4/5/2016 12:00:00 AM
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