Qrate delivers another powerful Menstruation Workshop at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Annual Summit 

Qrate delivers another powerful Menstruation Workshop at the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship Annual Summit 

Hello Qraters! 

On the 17th of July, Qrate hosted a workshop for 60 participants for the JGF Annual Summit. We spent an hour teaching the participants about Menstrual Health Education and they learnt a lot about themselves and their bodies. 

Qrate Menstrual Workshop at the JGF Annual Summit 2022

Workshop Activities:

The fun-filled and jam-packed workshop kickstarted with a video that took the participants on a visual journey of the experience of the first period in a world of full-fledged positivity and support for periods. The video was a thought-provoking launchpad that set up an interesting conversation to ease into the workshop.

The workshop included an eye-opening quiz that assisted the participants to debunk numerous menstrual myths and taboos. The quiz exposed the participants to glaring statistics that illustrated the sheer magnitude and impact of menstrual inequity that persists in society. This activity aided to contextualise the challenging circumstances that millions of menstruators face throughout the globe.

The activities that followed suit were all about empowering the participants to get comfortable with openly using menstrual jargon with pride and confidence. To take it a notch further, the participants also engaged in an interactive session about the different types of menstrual products and their varied applications. The Qrate team can proudly affirm that the world now has a fresh group of young adults who are knowledgeable about the different menstrual product options and their uses.

Workshop Outcomes:

The workshop highlighted to the participants that menstrual inequity is everyone’s problem therefore, it requires everyone to work toward breaking the period stigma. The JGF Annual Summit participants reflected this sentiment as they all actively engaged with the content of the workshop. In addition, the participants took on a period pledge to confirm their commitment to advocating for menstrual health.

A lot of work needs to be done to protect the human rights of menstruators. The bottom line is that change starts with rejecting period shaming and embracing period positivity. This change needs to be driven by awareness raising and menstrual education for everyone.

Let’s change mindsets and overturn regressive systems!

Workshop Reflections: 

Qrate workshop team and the JGF project manager

The project manager of JGF, Jade Glenn was incredibly impressed by the dynamic way the workshop was conducted and how the facilitators made the fellows have fun on a topic that is often seen as awkward.

One of the workshop participants enthusiastically shared that the workshop equipped them with the tools and knowledge to educate and empower young girls in their community on menstrual health – now this is what we call a domino effect!

We are honoured to have hosted this workshop in collaboration with JGF. We are looking forward to more stimulating workshops!

Qrate workshop certificates

If you’d like your organisation to experience the Qrate Menstruation Workshop, please send an email to info@qrate.org.za 

Menstruation

Menstruation

By Janet Gilman

We mostly hear myths about menstruation as South Africans. And often, these myths lead to young women to feeling embarrassed and outcasted for experiencing something that happens to them every month.

menstruation

My experiences about menstruation were that I can’t cook for my dad or any male when I am on my periods cause bad luck would follow up. I can’t allow any woman on her periods to touch my hair or else my hair will fall off and last but not least I can’t be around men when on my periods cause it’ll make my blood flow heavier and I might lose a lot of blood.

Afrika Tikkun's students writing down their thoughts in QRATE's Menstruation workshop.
Afrika Tikkun’s students writing down their thoughts in QRATE’s Menstruation workshop.

“How many more myths and untrue stories should we hear, listen and digest about being a woman on her menstrual cycle?!”

It’s time we normalized menstruation and found pride with walking out of a classroom full of boys and see no harm nor embarrassment about flashing our pads, tampons, and menstrual cups just so it suits best for boys, men or the society.

Menstruation workshop
Smiles all around! 

Luckily, I was able to participate in the Menstruation workshop offered by QRATE. I found the workshop to be fun, dynamic and engaging. QRATE has taught about being confident in your own skin, body and own life without thinking “What are people going to say?” The workshop opened our minds about being content with the way you are born. The QRATE workshops not only teach girls about menstruation but about how oneself can be proud of being a WOMEN.

I am glad to have experienced QRATE’s Eduliftment!

menstruation
Janet creatively explaining the tampon.

#POWER TO WOMEN✊

#WOMEN RUN THE WORLD✊

#WOMANDLA✊

#IMBOKODO✊

#EDULIFTMENT4KIDS

Janet Nomveliso Gilman is a 22 years old student who is certified in Project Management. Janet is also a Young Urban Citizen and a passionate activist for Gender-Based Violence & LGBTQI+ rights.

Follow her on Instagram: (@gilmanjanetn) and Twitter (@janetgilman) 

“Menstru-What?” for Boys (Part Two)

“Menstru-What?” for Boys (Part Two)

As seen in Part One, a lot and more has been said about teaching little girls about menstruation, hygiene, and social taboos associated with it and such, but seldom do we talk about how to enlighten our little boys on this topic. Don’t you think it is as important for us to teach our sons in a very healthy way about the concept of menstruation? Isn’t that also one of the most important steps towards eradicating the social taboos that still exist in our society regarding menstruation?

Half the population has periods, so why not make sure the half that doesn’t is also informed? Every boy should learn about period education. 

This is in part why a recent report has called for boys, as well as girls, to learn about periods and the menstrual cycle at school. Plan International, the charity behind the report, suggests there is a need to talk more about the issue as many girls feel embarrassed – with the menstrual cycle tarnished with stigma and taboo. 

Their findings also reveal that one in seven of the girls and women interviewed said they did not know what was happening when they first started their period – clearly demonstrating a need for more to be done to teach young women about what’s to come.

We have provided tips on how to teach boys on periods and it’s in five easy steps! 

Lesson #1: The Biological Lessons:

Before your little one reaches ‘the’ age, when the girls of his age start getting their first periods, one needs to give them basic guidance on the biological process involved with menstruation. You don’t really need to go deep into details during this stage. You just need to provide them with a little basic information for starters and later on, as he grows up, one may go into details as per his and your respective comfort levels.

Lesson #2: It’s Divine, Not Yucky!

As your little one learns about menstruation and its associated processes, it is quite natural for them to develop an aversion towards it, as it involves blood and hygiene and so on and so forth. Let him know then, that there are hygienic methods involved in addressing it and that it is not a curse. 

 “In fact,  boys need to know that it is nature’s little secret that keeps life on this planet going and thriving.”

Lesson #3: Boom – Busting the Myths! 

It is TV time and your boy child sees that cliché sanitary pad advert with the demonstration of blue ink being poured on the sanitary pad. Believe it or not, but there are some parents who tell their sons that the sanitary pad is used for absorbing excess ink from fountain pens! It is important to bust myths around things that children come across every day. By telling your boy child: “I will tell you about it in detail when you grow up. For now, it’s something that is used by big girls.” is a simple way of tackling the societal taboos that come with menstruation. 

Lesson #4: Moody Mood Swings. 

It is important to start teaching your boy child that girls can go through mood swings, and it not because of their period but because of hormones or either they are actually moody. And that is okay! It is important not to always blame the period for mood swings, but to at least teach boys to be sensitive towards such events. 

Lesson #5: Ouch! The Pain. 

Just like the mood swings, boys need to understand how much of a painful experience it could be for some girls. They need to understand why their girl classmates or friends are not in the mood to play around or have fun. 

It is also important for schools to be more open about the importance of menstruation and they need to be more sympathetic towards the stigma girls face. For a start, schools should provide resources and information that girls can access. This will help them understand – rather than feel scared and fearful – what is happening to their bodies during puberty.

Talking with your children is one important step towards taking the taboo out of menstruation because to achieve gender equality on this issue, girls need to feel able to talk about their periods and challenge the discrimination that is associated with menstruation and developing girls bodies. 

And boys can play a big role in this – if they also get the right support and resources.

By only educating girl children about menstruation, we will not solve the problem of menstrual taboos in this society. We need to educate our boys too, for a better period-friendly society and a better life for the women of tomorrow!

Until we change attitudes, the conversation surrounding menstruation and menstrual equality will continue to be a secret. Tell your daughters. Tell your sons. Today. The earlier we start to normalize the conversation with our children, the less of a taboo menstruation will become. It’ll be just another part of the cycle of dialogue.

Period.

“Menstru-what?” for Kids (Part One)

“Menstru-what?” for Kids (Part One)

Fact: People with periods menstruate monthly for about 40 years – close to 500 times in a lifetime. 

Fact: Not talking about periods creates confusion, oppression, and societal harm. 

It is important to talk about menstrual health, society has for too long made it a taboo.

Menstruation, despite being a completely natural and common occurrence for young girls and women for as long as our species has existed is one of the most misunderstood and feared phenomena.

MANY girls believe that periods are a burden to be borne every month, silently and in shame. Society is complicit in teaching girls that menstruation is a dirty little secret. The messaging about periods is that they are best suffered quietly and that they are certainly not appropriate for polite conversation.

Normalise Menstruation – by Hey Ellen

It is critical for both girls and boys to know that having your period is a natural  and important part of growing up.

So we have provided ideas for parents, guardians, teachers, and guidance counselors. Don’t be afraid of talking about periods, sharing information and advice is the best way to understand your period and have a happy month!

Firstly what is a period? 

It is important to have a discussion with your child on the female reproductive system!

A first period (also known as menarche) is a special event! Spend time with your child to celebrate the start of a new chapter in their life. Sharing knowledge and experience is important to help your them feel comfortable and confident about the changes that are happening to their body.

Your period is blood passing out of your womb as part of a natural process to prepare your body for pregnancy. Now that your body is changing you can get pregnant, (and just before your first period too).

Your period happens once a month, and usually lasts between 2-7 days, but it may take a few months for your period to be regular and predictable, the first few may be light and irregular. You may find it useful to keep track of your period each month, to see when it is due and when it arrives. You can use an easy Period App such as Clue.

Reassure

Preparing with correct and updated information for the first period can prevent worry. Let them know it is normal and natural and that they can still enjoy their childhood if they want to. Just because their period arrived, does not mean they want to be rushed into becoming an adult.

Share

Talk from experience, let them know that all menstruating teenagers go through it, and you did too. Show her the menstrual health products available, how to use them and let her choose the one she feels most comfortable with.

Know the facts

It is as simple as researching online and reading up on the facts! Pass on the knowledge!

“Menstrual management can be essential in ensuring that your child’s everyday life is not interrupted by menstruation. “

It ensures that your child can continue with her daily routine such as going to school, going to work or doing household chores. It can also prevent potential situations of embarrassment and in turn, make them feel confident about herself and her body. In this sense, maintaining proper menstrual health is important for her wellbeing and development.


Not only is this post focusing on what girls and women should do, but young boys and men have a responsibility to learn about menstrual cycles (which we shall discuss in part two).

We believe that every girl should have access to safe, affordable menstrual products.

Every girl should also learn that her period is a natural even a phenomenal bodily process.

Every girl should learn that their period is not a monthly curse and certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

PERIOD.