Menstruation is something that half of the world’s population has to deal with . Despite advancements in human rights and women’s rights and issues, menstruation continues to be a taboo topic in many societies and those menstruating face discrimination, harassment and violence. Women and girls are a vulnerable population in virtually every community today, which is not helped further by the continuous stigma concerning menstruation.
The public sphere is designed to fit the needs of the small group of people in power, which in most societies is embodied in the straight, able-bodied, upper-class, middle-aged, (light- skinned) male. This excludes the majority of the population in any given country and leaves everyone not belonging to the small group in power struggling to survive in a society which often fails to accommodate their needs.
PROUD started as a way to contribute to raising awareness about menstruation and the troubles facing those menstruating, by offering knowledge on how to manufacture sanitary products.
The project wants to spread knowledge on how to produce cloth pads, so that everyone has the possibility to create what they need themselves, thus making sanitary products accessible for everyone.
The first project took place in the village Bishozi in South-Western Uganda. It is not uncommon that girls on the countryside in Uganda stay home from school during their menstruation, due to lack of affordable menstrual protection and social stigmatisation. As they get older, the girls miss more and more of their education, causing them to fall behind, which often results in girls dropping out of school altogether. During our visit to Uganda in February 2018, we discussed these issues together with representatives from the Bishozi Women’s Association. We showed them our ideas on how to produce easy and affordable menstrual protection in the form of cloth pads and together, we sewed approximately 100 cloth pads.
Nema Vinkeloe Uuskyla is a young yet skilful singer, violinist and violist who has performed in Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Italy, India, Uganda and USA. She is a freelance musician since 2011 and has performed in concerts, conducted workshops and recorded in different constellations and contexts.