In rural Bangladesh, menstruation is largely viewed as impure, often imposing many restrictions on what women can do and where they can go. We are challenging these deeply rooted beliefs through our Women's Business Centres.
United Purpose's Women's Business Centres provide services that are specifically targeted at rural women, including agricultural training, access to business opportunities, and healthcare and nutrition advice. We train five local women – known as female entrepreneurs – to manage each Women’s Business Centre that we establish. We equip them with the knowledge and skills to deliver vital services to their communities.
The female entrepreneurs also play a key role in educating teenage girls and their families about menstruation, explaining that it is natural, healthy and positive. Many Centres also sell sanitary products, as women who can afford these products often do not buy them at normal shops out of embarrassment. Some entrepreneurs have reported that the Centres are the only places where adolescents feel comfortable buying them, so they have significantly increased access to sanitary products.
Meet Adhuri. A young teenager, she dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up – and she enjoys teaching the other children in her village at any chance she gets. But one day, she was forced to drop school and she was confined to her room. She could not understand why she was being held at home.
That’s when the female entrepreneurs at Adhuri’s local Women’s Business Centre stepped in. They talked to her father and helped him to understand that menstruation is a sign that his daughter is healthy – and also that she can do everything during her periods, including going to school. Now that she is able to live normally and attend school during her periods, Adhuri's life has greatly improved.