As a member of Connection Pointe, I have had the privilege of serving with Vision Trust on five short term mission trips to Guatemala; and had the honor of co-leading two of them. These trips (along with my day job as a pharmacist) really sparked my interest in global health which has led me to serve in India and Liberia, as well.
Currently, I work with the Expert Services Team within Vision Trust leading the Adolescent Team. Expert Services combines experts in Education, WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), Behavioral Health, and Spiritual Development to holistically care for children in 14 different countries across the globe.
What if a period did more than end a sentence, but also ended an education?
In many parts of the world, menstruation is a taboo subject. It is such a taboo that it causes adolescent girls to feel like something is inherently wrong with them.
“Why am I being punished in this way?”
“I must have done something wrong.”
In some countries like India, many females are often not even allowed in their own kitchens while “on their period” because they are taught by their society that they are unclean.
In their culture, females are often regarded as a liability, while males are considered an asset.
Many women in India lack the necessary female hygiene supplies due to lack of knowledge (“I’ve never even heard of a pad.”), lack of access, and lack of money. This causes adolescent girls to hide during menstruation for fear of embarrassment; dropping out of school because that cannot deal with a natural part of their lives.
Vision Trust India developed a way to help empower these girls and to show them that they truly are “Worth More”. Through Young Women’s Club, vulnerable females are given female hygiene products, and taught why and how to care for themselves. This has not only impacted the Vision Trust students, but also other females (sisters, mothers, aunts) in their community.
Just opening the dialogue on socially-prohibited subjects like menstruation has helped replace fear and isolation with freedom and community.
Through addressing this health crisis, they are also learning how to cope with common mental and behavioral health issues facing today’s adolescents. Most importantly, their value in Christ’s eyes is being emphasized to them through their local Vision Trust leaders.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Through Vision Trust, a period has now become a launching pad for their future, giving them a better chance to break the cycle of poverty that has plagued their life.
HEALTHCARE THIS WEEK IN GUATEMALA…
This week at the Los Verdes, Guatemala Learning Center, our travel team’s curriculum includes healthcare, one of VisionTrust’s three pillars.
Melissa Smith and Kayla Lents are leading training on hand-washing (Global Handwashing Day is today, Tues, October 15) dental hygiene, first aid, and a discussion on health care careers.
Jeff Lovell, Trip Leader
A black-light shows students where germs hide, even after a hand washing. Students learn the importance of thorough washing.
NOTE: We have three CP teams in the field this week so be on the lookout for additional blog updates coming soon.