I’d like to introduce you to Doreen Bieri, a nurse who was born in Cameroon and lives in Switzerland. I met her this week at the Afro-European Medical Research Network’s annual conference, and I wanted to tell you about her inspiring work.
Doreen combines her medical knowledge with her understanding of Cameroonian society to make a unique contribution. She makes washable sanitary pads for young Cameroonian girls who begin menstruation.
If you’re in my network, then you may have heard me talk about aging and you know that I support openly acknowledging the realities of the human body. There are realities of our physiology, realities of life, which people don’t always want to talk about. Menstruation is one of those things.
Doreen plainly speaks of growing up as a young girl without education or hygiene assistance, and she sees the same situation faced by girls in Cameroon today.
So she decided to do something about it. She enlisted the help of a few volunteers, and they started making washable sanitary pads for young women. Funded entirely by herself, Doreen and her team have produced hundreds of washable pads for Cameroonian girls, and she trains the girls (and their mothers, if necessary) on how to use them.
At one point in Doreen’s presentation, she asked the audience to look under the table where we were sitting. I discovered a washable sanitary pad under my table. Yeah, that happened.
Doreen is making a difference, and she welcomes partners in her work. She can be contacted via her website at https://chongaforfoundation.com/.