When I heard about Generation, Education, Period I immediately had to come to Cambodia. Never had it occurred to me for a moment that struggling to manage a period could put a woman's education at risk. We have the privilege of options. Here in rural Cambodia, many don't even have access to toilet paper.
Generation, Education, Period (GEP) is a community project of Green Umbrella's and also a social enterprise. My friend Margo Marks started the project a few years ago after seeing first hand how women in the village struggled to continue with school and work each month. Stigma, mountains of misinformation, and little education made the problem worse.
GEP not only educates women about menstruation but also produces reusable eco friendly sanitary kits locally. The production keeps two local women employed full time, Sock and Sockheng. Making GEP sustainable is vital because it keeps the women out of the harsh working conditions of the local factories, 7-7pm, 7 days a week (H&M, Nike, GAP etc).
After successful delivery of workshops and kits to many villages, GEP has now caught on in Laos and recently Thailand. In Cambodia, we're ready to ramp up the activity, and that's what I'm here to assist with. GEP will soon have local women delivering workshops on puberty, periods and pregnancy (this is not taught in the Cambodian curriculum) and distributing reusable sanitary kits.
Word spread fast when we put the call out for confident volunteers. We signed up 30 young women (a few young men also) to become trainers. Most are high school students but they're 100% passionate about empowering women and their future. We facilitated a two day train the trainer workshop, including anatomy, reproductive systems, ovulation, menstruation, puberty and pregnancy. We made embarrassing topics fun with games, videos and cartoons in English and Khmer - when the room is full of laughter you can't help but learn !
You can read more about it in the article in Phnom Penh Post that GEP was featured in on 10 March 2017 !
The women who are now trainers will be delivering their first workshop this Friday. I wish you all the very best, your commitment to women to change their lives is a true inspiration!
And I owe a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to my fundraiser in January 2017. You've supported many young women to help change the lives of many many more.
Here are the words
I take a few pictures too