Breaking the cycle of period poverty: Alice’s story

Alice and her mother, Dusenge. All photos: Hajarah Nalwadda/CARE Uganda 

On any given day, more than 320 million people around the world are menstruating (Global Menstrual Collective). Still many people around the world lack the proper access to menstrual products, services, and information. This is period poverty.

CARE has had the privilege of meeting and working alongside women, girls, community members, staff, partners and volunteers around the world to break the cycle of period poverty and ensure women and girls can fully participate in all aspects of society and achieve their potential.

Meet Alice, one of many women who participated in a menstrual hygiene course in Uganda. She chatted with CARE and our partner organization, WoMena, about some of her experiences and challenges with menstruation and how her and her family have overcome them. 


Menstruating is  one of the most natural things in the world, yet many girls have no idea what happens the first time they experience it . Misinformation and things being thought of as  taboo can  have major consequences. For instance, many girls miss school because they are told that they must stay at home while menstruating.

“I was at school when I got my period for the first time, I did not understand what happened and bled through,” says Alice who lives in a refugee camp in Uganda.

Alice was afraid to share the news at home, and there was not much help to get there either. Her mother forced her to stay inside.

When Alice received a menstrual cup and information about her own body, it changed her whole life.

Becoming a role model

CARE and our  partner organization WoMena worked to combat period stigmas in refugee settlements in Uganda . Menstrual cups were given out and courses were offered for both the girls and their families. 

As a result of one of these courses, Alice, and others, including parents, changed the way they looked at menstruation.

It helped us parents. We learned about menstruation and how girls and women can handle it. We also received information about the menstrual cup and how to use it. This project has been very positive for us” says Alice’s mother, Dusenge.

Alice also became a role model for other girls in the refugee camp and recruited more girls for the course. Now she is a volunteer. he works to challenge stereotypes and taboos around menstruation in the camp,  facilitates courses, and  goes  door to door to help spread information.

“Her self-confidence increased. Now I see young girls following her and they ask for her, Alice’s mother says, and adds that when they saw her daughter’s development, they decided to send her back to school.

Menstruation education is not just for women.

Rafiki, Alice's father

Rafiki, Alice’s father

Although he was married and had two daughters, Alice’s father Rafik believed that women should be isolated when they were menstruating. 

“After I took a course about menstruation and I was told that everything was a myth, I slowly began to change,” says Rafik. “Now I know that menstruation is a normal part of life and that it does not change anything, but that life continues as usual.”

He believes that if more men get the same information as he did, the isolation of girls who are menstruating would end.

“When my children started menstruating, my husband would not hear about it, support them or help. After Alice became part of the project, it has helped us to be more open with each other and we can talk about menstruation even when he is here, says Alice’s mother, Dusenge.

Education is essential.

“Now I feel good, I feel free, I can talk to family and friends about it, because I know that menstruation is normal,” Alice says.

Still, she wishes she had received information about her own body earlier.

“I got pregnant because I did not know enough about my body. It is a big challenge for the girls who do not get enough information.”

But the future looks bright. Alice is now training to become a laboratory technician.

“I want to make a difference for my family and for my local community. It’s great what this project has done, and it has proven that I am someone who can make things happen.”


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