Die reis van vrouwees

‘Ons moet dié ongemaklike gesprekke hê’

11 May 2021 | Youth

Meisies wêreldwyd kom daagliks voor verskeie uitdagings te staan wat ’n reuse-impak op hulle alledaagse werklikhede en toekoms het.

Meeste van dié kwessies word egter nie aangepak nie as gevolg van die stigma wat daaraan klou. Menstruasie en gesprekke oor menstruasie is een van hulle.

Met haar omvattende handleiding Ann’s Journey into Womanhood: A family approach, wat onlangs in die hoofstad bekend gestel is, beoog Hermine Bertolini om waardigheid terug aan dié meisies te gee. Deur die kleurryke illustrasies in die gids, gebruik sy die krag van stories en beelde om ’n stem aan dié maatskaplike kwessie te gee wat steeds te min aandag in Namibië geniet.

Bertolini is die stigter van Ann Pads, ’n niewinsgewende maatskappy wat in 2018 tot stand gebring is en wasbare sanitêre doekies vervaardig.

Om aandag te gee aan die gebrek aan onderrig ten opsigte van vroulike voortplantingsgesondheid, wat ook aan geslagsgelykheid gekoppel kan word, is die primêre navorsing vir die handleiding gedoen deur onderhoude, vraelyste, voorleggings en fokusgroepe.

Die vraelyste is gebaseer op kulturele, algemene en godsdienstige aspekte van menstruasie in Namibië. Die illustratiewe gids se fokus is om die resultate van dié navorsing maklik verstaanbaar te maak.

Bertolini het twee hoofaspekte geïdentifiseer wat sy wou takel: die gebrek aan sanitêre produkte en aan onderrig. Laasgenoemde was ook die rede hoekom Ann Pads op die been gebring is.

“Menstruele higiëne is een van die onderwerpe wat nie genoeg in Namibië bespreek word nie,” sê dr. Philippe Talavera, die direkteur van die Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO).

Kwessies oor die vroulike menstruele siklus, menstruasie self en seks word as taboe-onderwerpe in die land beskou, sê hy.

Dit is egter ’n natuurlike, biologiese proses, en dít is die idee wat Bertolini in Ann’s Journey into Womanhood wil tuisbring.

“Dié siklus is waar lewe begin. Dit het ’n reuse-impak op die fisieke en emosionele ontwikkeling van jong meisies,” benadruk Talavera.

Bertolini is passievol hieroor, en wil graag die taboes rondom dié kwessie afbreek.

“Menstruele bloed is nié vuil bloed nie. Wanneer ’n meisie begin menstrueer, beteken dit nié sy is gereed om te trou en kinders te kry nie. En menstruasie moet nié meisies uit die skool hou nie,” word genoem as redes hoekom handleidings soos dié en gesprekke oor die onderwerp so nodig is.

“Deur ’n formaat te gebruik wat maklik is om te lees, soms humoristies is en karakters van Namibië se diverse gemeenskappe insluit, help dié grafiese gids vir almal om te verstaan wat menstruasie werklik is en hoekom wasbare sanitêre doekies nodig is. Dit breek mites en bygelowe af en vervang dit met geloofwaardige, wetenskaplike data. Dit is ’n moet-lees boek vir leerlinge, sowel as enige iemand wat met tieners werk,” skryf Talavera.

“Ons behoort die proses te vier, want dit is die rede vir ons bestaan, eerder as om verneder te voel.”

Jacob Shingenge het die illustrasies in Ann’s Journey into Womanhood: A family approach gedoen.

Foto’s:

Ann’s Journey into Womanhood: A family approach is onlangs in Windhoek bekend gestel. Foto’s verskaf

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