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Project February 4, 2022

Menstruation, Religion, and the Rohingya



In the backdrop of a sprawling refugee camp and its battle with COVID-19, the challenges of menstruation management that Rohingya women and girls face have become even more formidable.

Among the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority, menstruation is defined by cultural and religious beliefs and practices. These practices—often viewed as restrictive— include staying indoors and not engaging in work, study, or prayer. However, many overlook the complexity of these practices and their foundational values of self-care and hygiene.

Rhya Evans’ reporting shows the importance of an approach to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) that respects the values of women across and within cultural communities and enables their agency in managing their menstruation with dignity. Hygiene management in a densely populated refugee camp is riddled with obstacles. From inadequate privacy and infrastructure to pandemic-related pauses in the sanitary product supply chain, Rohingya girls and their mothers describe the challenges and frustrations they face each month.


Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


Gender Equality

Gender Equality