Sophia Larimer, Sarah Roberts, Aubrey Sandberg, and Megan Zitting, have gone above and beyond to help others in preparation for their trip to Ecuador. As part of their clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course, these students created a useful and easy technique to help women track their menstrual cycles. In Ecuador and around the world, women and young girls are often constrained by the effects of their menstrual cycles. In many places, young girls are forced to miss school or sit on cardboard for days during this time.
These BYU students are working with Days for Girls and Charity Anywhere to help those in less fortunate areas. Days for Girls, an organization started by a latter-day saint woman, also found a way to help women in poverty. They create hygiene kits that allow girls to use washable cloth pads so they can stay in school. This technique, among others, helps women and girls with their menstruation. Another method used around the world to help women with fertility is the standard days method. This method is a natural way to predict fertility and menstruation cycles. First developed at Georgetown University,cycle beads have been used to keep track of when a woman has her period, when she is most fertile, and when she is least likely to get pregnant. The four BYU nursing students mentioned above wanted to do something unique to help those they would serve. They decided to create their version of cycle beads to give to the women of Ecuador.
These beads in the form of bracelets are simple to use. A charm is first placed on the red bead to indicate the day the woman’s period begins. Each day, the charm is moved to the next color coded bead which represents the time frame when she is most likely to get pregnant, and to not have unprotected sex if she doesn’t want to get pregnant. The following beads are marked brown to indicate that the woman is not likely to get pregnant these days. The cycle will continue and she can keep track of when her next period will most likely be.
The nursing students knew these bracelets would be too expensive for the people in Ecuador so they wanted to make their own to distribute. After trips to the store to buy the right type of beads, they spent hours creating the bracelets. While in Ecuador, they have been doing their best to pass them out to as many as they can, and have taught women there how to reproduce more. They are spending their time educating women about first aid, exercise and stress relief, hygiene and other basic health topics. The students are enjoying their time helping those in need. The cycle beads have been a success so far, and a simple way to address a need in Ecuador.