Women from the Pensacola Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are proud to be a part of making feminine hygiene kits for women and girls in need through www.DaysForGirls.org.
Young women and girls in developing countries may not have access to sanitary feminine hygiene products to use during their monthly menstrual periods. What if not having sanitary supplies meant missing days from school or days of isolation? Many girls have to make do with leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks or whatever else they can find, but still miss up to two months of education and opportunities every school year. Over time, this missed education perpetuates poverty in their lives.
Be an Instrument for Change in the World
Women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pensacola, Florida, accepted the challenge to be an instrument for social change for women all over the world. When they learned that hygiene items they have used for years were not available in other places, they selected a service project to create reuseable sanitary feminine hygiene kits working with the Days for Girls, an organization set up to organize volunteer seamstresses.
Sewers created the three basic parts in the hygiene kits from patterns developed by this international organization. The parts include flannel inserts to absorb menstrual flow. These liners are made from flannel serged around the edges to prevent fraying and include an additional center strip for extra absorbancy. These are placed into shields which snap through the legs of under panties.
Shields are made from colorful 100% cotton fabric and contain a waterproof liner stitched inside. They have end pockets to hold the liners in place. Darker colors are preferred because they camouflage blood stains. When they are not in use, they can all be stored in drawstring fabric bags.
Making Feminine Hygiene Kits
The first evening, thirty ladies got together from four different church congregations. Enthusiasm for the project spread throughout the area. During the summer and fall, work groups met monthly at five locations across the Florida Panhandle. As the project continued, unfinished items moved from work group to work group. The project included school age girls to grandmothers . Even non-sewers could help by cutting patterns, ironing and turning parts inside out was .
Work sessions were scheduled and announced on social media as well as the volunteer service website, JustServe.org. This free website allows organizations to post upcoming projects and the number of volunteers needed. It provides a place for workers to sign up and communicate with the organization as well as collects metrics on how many volunteer hours were donated.
Completed Feminine Hygiene Kits
Completed kits include the three sewn parts as well as panties, soap, Ziplock bags for storing and washing soiled items. The kits also include health and hygiene information.
How did the Pensacola group do? At last count, the group had completed:
749 flannel liners
351 shields and
294 drawstring bags.
What kind of influence do these kits have? They help girls stay in school, strengthen confidence and support healthy communities.
What difference do they make? After distribution, school absences dropped from 25% to 3% in Uganda. In Kenya they dropped from 36% to 8%. In general, women menstruate 60 days or 2 months a year. Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits are designed to last 2-4 years. Imagine earning back 240 days of opportunity.
Since their establishment, Days for Girls has developed a global network of over 780 chapters and teams, companies, governments, and non-government organizations in over 100 countries.
In addition to organizing volunteer seamstresses around the world, currently, they are also running micro-enterprises for women’s groups in under developed countries to make these kits and provide for women in their communities.
They are working to help girls gain access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene, vital health knowledge, and income generation opportunities.
In conclusion, working on this project, women across the Florida Panhandle have come together to serve women in other parts of the world. They remember, “when you are in service to your fellow man, you are in the service of your God.”
For additional local projects in which you can volunteer, visit: www.JustServe.org. You’ll be glad you did.