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Caption:A piece of cloth to be used as sanitary pad. Saba, 18, 'My mom told me to use cloth during my periods. I cannot afford to use sanitary pads.' Islamabad, Pakistan, August 2018.
Credit:WaterAid/ Sibtain Haider
Usage Rights:(1) Images may be used for all purposes, globally, in perpetuity. Images may be used by third parties.
Size:11.46MB
7952 x 5304px
Key Information:Location: Judicial Town, District Islamabad, Pakistan
Local partner: N/A
Project name: N/A
Project status: No project
Interview:Pull out quote:

“Use of cloth does hamper my work as I cannot work properly, for example while brooming or walking. I can’t walk properly then.”

Story Summary:

Saba is a student of grade 10 and also works as a maid in a house in Islamabad. While menstruating, Saba mostly uses cloth instead of sanitary pads as she finds them expensive. But she does not find it comfortable and would rather use sanitary pads more often. While she’s at work, she gets access to sanitary pads but otherwise it is still an issue for her.

Interviewee details:

Name: Saba Shokat
Hometown: Khanewal
Work station: Islamabad
Age: 18
Occupation: Grade 10 Student and maid

Interview carried out by Hina Kausar, Project Coordinator, WaterAid Pakistan

Interview written by Sibtain Haider

Interview/ Case story:

Basically from Khanewal, Saba Shokat works as a maid in a house in the capital of Pakistan. She is keen to learn and has not let her work disrupt her education; she is studying in 10th grade from an open university in Islamabad.

While menstruating, Saba often uses cloth instead of sanitary pads. She says, “I use cloth to manage my periods. Sometimes cotton cloth and sometimes lawn.” “I get the cloth from home, from the clothes that we used to wear earlier and are now old and rough.”

But Saba is not happy with the use of cloth, neither in school nor at work. “In school, I used to face difficulty during my periods because of use of cloth, I don’t feel comfortable with it.” She adds, “Use of cloth does hamper my work as I cannot work properly, for example while brooming or walking. I can’t walk properly then.”

Saba uses cloth not only because she has been told so but because she finds sanitary pads available in the market expensive. “My mom told me to use cloth during my periods.” “I cannot afford to use sanitary pads.” “Sometimes I do use sanitary pads when I have to go somewhere but not very often.”

While she’s at work, she does use sanitary pads sometimes as it is available easily inside the house she works in. Other than that when she has to use cloth, she does not feel comfortable at all. “I find the use of cloth difficult and it makes me uncomfortable. I can’t use it properly and I feel irritated.” “I keep worrying because I do not want others to know when I am menstruating.”

Saba would rather use sanitary pads always. She says, “I would like to use sanitary pads more often.”

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