Between the ages of 11 and 14, girls typically enter puberty. The combined stresses of getting their first period, having their hormones surging, and suddenly becoming fertile cause many girls to struggle socially, within their households, and as individuals at this critical time of change. Children in rural schools in developing countries are usually not prepared for this phase of life, family education often fails because of a high sense of shame, and there is no corresponding access to outside information. Puberty hits most girls in Cambodia and Laos completely unprepared. When menstruating, girls often do not attend school. Frequently, young girls just entering their menstrual cycles think they are ill and have no place to go and no one to turn to. Critically, girls often have limited knowledge of basic feminine hygiene and inadequate access to period products, such as tampons and sanitary pads.
Lack of information and education in female biology is no small matter regarding unwanted childhood pregnancy.