Girls in developing countries around the world suffer indignities, infection and even exploitation during the menstrual flow times of their life. Without sanitary supplies contained in feminine hygiene kits, girls and young women miss days from school and have their ability to work impacted. Without pads, they may have to use rags, mattress stuffing, banana leaves, feathers, and cow dung to manage their menstruation.
Often girls miss several days of school each month impacting their education and perpetuating poverty in their lives. In Uganda, where the feminine hygiene kits have been introduced, the school absenteeism has dropped from 36% to 8% in Uganda. Schools in Kenya have reported a change from 25% to 3% .
Making Feminine Hygiene Kits for Days for Girls
Days for Girls International is a grassroots 501(c)3 non-profit. Women, and girls discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change. They have opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community’s betterment while ensuring quality sustainable feminine hygiene. Their mission is to create a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions and health awareness.
The Pensacola congregation, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ladies service organization President, Billie Nicholson, said, “Julia Gibson, from Gulf Breeze, FL introduced this program during a church women’s group meeting. She explained how women in developing countries have unhealthy feminine hygiene. Many of us were aghast. We had no idea that items we have used each month for years were not available other places.”
Then she told of the international project, Days for Girls, created to organize volunteers to sew feminine hygiene kits. Julia described how excited young ladies are when they receive the kits. They are also taught ways to care for the reusable kits so they will last for several years. Following our meeting, many women wanted to know how to be a part of this sewing project. (Picture chickens chasing June bugs.)
“The excitement was contagious,” Nicholson said.
Work Events Planned
One of our members, Wendi Mihalik, contacted representatives of Days for Girls to get details on how to get started. She learned what types of fabric were needed and how to order some hard-to-get supplies. Within a few days, we scheduled a work event. We posted the project on the community service website, www.JustServe.org and on social media pages that were shared over and over. The night of our event, we had thirty women from four different Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wards show up. Women and young girls cut patterns and fabric. They serged, ironed, and sewed items to create components of the feminine hygiene kits.
Days for Girls, Int’l. has designed reusable pads, shields and drawstring bags, which can be sewn by volunteers. They are part of kits that also contain panties, soap and plastic bags for washing them. The kits also include health and hygiene information. Workers inspect each item for quality of construction.
Work Events Go Viral
Needless to say, we didn’t finish that first night. We scheduled a second event for the following Saturday. That allowed us time to complete 34 shields and many reusable pads. Some women took drawstring bag sets home to continue working on their own. It didn’t stop there. The desire to work on this project has spread to five more church wards in our Stake (regional organization). Navarre, Fl Ward has a meeting planned Thursday July 21 and Milton Ward is having a meeting on August 25.
Feminine Hygiene Kits Final Destination
As we work together, we take unfinished items from one group to the next. Some of the kits are already on their way to a Days for Girls Uganda chapter in Orem, Utah.
The Pensacola stake sisters finished the following items to send—
We will send more completed kits in November. Working on this project, women across the Florida Panhandle have come together to serve women in other parts of the world.