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Burundian girls and boys both benefit from health classes

Dacia Irakoze, centre, says the Mutima Program offered by Village Health Works is making a difference in her life. Here she and fellow classmates are making sanitary pads.

November 14, 2019

By Janice Biehn

Dacia Irakoze

Dacia Irakoze is an 18-year-old student at ECOFO Kigutu school in Burundi, where PWRDF partner Village Health Works teaches young people about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in a program called Mutima.

According to the ECOFO Kigutu school principal, the drop-out rate has decreased significantly from the year before. The Mutima Program is believed to be one reason for the decline, along with increased activities for adolescent boys and girls to talk about their futures and health.

“Mutima is a program that I really like,” says Dacia. “I first learned to understand myself, to understand the change in certain aspects of my body, how to have proper hygiene during the period of menstruation and how to avoid having an unwanted pregnancy and giving up my studies.

Dacia says through Mutima she has learned how to recognize when a boy is “flirting” with her and might have the goal to distract her away from her studies. “I could get pregnant, and have to give up school.”

A hand-made sanitary pad.
A hand-made sanitary pad.

In Mutima the girls also learn how to make reusable sanitary pads and how to wash them. “It’s an economical sanitary pad because I can use it whenever my period occurs,” she says. “I do not always have to ask my parents for some money to buy the modern pads. Most parents in our community do not have the money for this type of purchase.”

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For media requests please contact Communications Coordinator Janice Biehn at (416) 924-9199;366.

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