Thinking of you as we focus on Thanksiving and now Giving Tuesday today, because YOU make so much thankfulness possible for so many girls and women. Your important giving and support of Days for Girls has helped thousands of girls and women have access to hygiene they can count on month after month. You have helped them have freedom to stay in school or work, and to have more dignity, more health. In honor of your support, we wanted to share recent reports from a few of the girls who have received kits because of your support. We have attached a letter from a 16 year old in Uganda so you can see her message in her own writing telling about the kit she received that you made possible. Another girl, Gladys N. from Kenya writes, "I want to thank Days for Girls for the sanitary towels. My days are no longer shameful, I feel like I can face each day with confidence and now I do not have to miss school when my periods come. Thanks to Days for Girls." You made that possible with your support too.
There is another powerful component of Days for Girls that you have made possible: health education about what a period is and how to manage it. This is a subject so taboo that millions of girls and women are left at risk because, let's be honest, the world doesn't want to talk about periods. We are working to change that, you are helping make it possible. In Kenya, a bright, articulate 16 year-old girl who trained with Days for Girls to train others was overjoyed to learn what a period is, because she had been assuming for 2 years that her menses meant that she had AIDS and she had just lived with the fear until she learned from Days for Girls that there was no need for fear nor for shame. It's an important topic one well worth breaking silence and shattering taboos for.
Sharon N. is a student at Victoria Secondary School, Buikwe District, age 16. She shares what it was like to not know, saying, "One day I was sitting in class at school and felt something wet pass through my skirt. It was strange and I felt scared about it. I lived with only my brother and no one had ever told me about periods. I didn't know what was happening and I was not prepared with anything to manage it. I felt very bad. I used a piece of cloth but it was very dirty. I didn't know what else to do and I couldn't tell my brother. I'm happy now that I have information about my body and a reusable pad."
And Olivia N., a 14 year old student at Victoria Secondary School, Buikwe District, told our team about what it was like to start her period without knowing what it was. She reports, "When I was 9 years old I woke up feeling pain in my stomach. When I reached the toilet I found blood. I asked myself, 'What is this?!?!' I didn't tell my family about what was happening because I feared that they would abuse me and beat me. I went back to bed. I woke up in the morning and sat at the table and thought that the blooding must have started from an insect entering inside of me. I worried that I was going to die. Then my mother came and asked me, 'What are you doing?' I told her that I saw blood coming from my private parts. She told me that this was normal for women and that I was not going to die. She gave me a piece of cloth and told me how to use it to catch the blood. Then she told said, 'Repeat after me. One, two, three.' I did and then she said that after three days I would stop bleeding. This is the story of my first menstruation. I feared a lot because I thought I was going to die. No one had ever told me about menstruation before. I am happy that Days for Girls came to tell us about menstruation."
Thank you for all you do to make a difference for girls and women around the globe with us. We promise to keep working hard to ensure that your support adds up to results that really count and keeps adding up to more change lives.
PS: I thought you might like to see the recent TedX talk featuring the story of Days for Girls! The link is below. Thanks again for your support. Together we can change so many lives.
Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for you and for the amazing people we have had the privilege of serving with and serving for in Zimababwe... that includes YOU. Some of the most moving stories of results and courage of those standing up for their community to have more access to feminine hygiene and more health knowledge have been from this project in Zimbabwe. So many heroes who have overcome ill health, poverty and transportation issues just to keep teaching and sharing how to make kits and how to stay healthy. In fact, in one location we learned they were skipping meals so they could afford transport to keep teaching... as volunteers... in Zimbabwe. It's unheard of but they have that level of passion. We asked them not to skip meals and to seek support for transport. You sent it. We are so grateful for your support in making it all happen. The director of Days for Girls Zimbabwe has been in Germany with her family and we are working with her and a new partner to ensure that large scale materials are available to those making kits in Zimbabwe. It's promising, but it is a process that is taking time. So for a small window of time we will can all celebrate a job well done in Zimbabwe and pause to get ready to send a whole lot of resources to the strong and resilient women in Zimbabwe. Thank you for being part of the empowerment there. Please consider staying with us on our Empower Women in Africa with Hygiene project and stay tuned for more information about what's next for Zimbabwe.
Sending our appreciation for your part in changing SO many lives.
And many more to come.
Happy International Day of the Girl! We thought this is the perfect time to report back about the girls and women you have empowered with your support. In the past few months Days for Girls kits have reached a milestone of service to 61 nations on 6 continents. YOU have been a big part of that. Your support of Days for Girls has enabled not only more momentum to reach more women and girls but also has expanded in-country training measurement and results in Uganda and beyond so women in the nations we serve can meet the needs of their own communities. The lessons we learn from different trials will help us to scale feminine hygiene solutions around the world in a way that empowers girls, women, communities and local leadership and economy. It's working and it isn't easy, but you have made it easier with your vital support.
DfGUganda Team members biggest projects from recent months has been refining local manufacturing methods and setting up and implementing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program. The M&E program has been led by students from BYU, who are working with Days for Girls to measure how Days for Girls kits are impacting school attendance. In addition, we are measuring how the reproductive health training is impacting self-esteem and how girls view their roles in communities. This M&E program aims to capture the whole picture of every sector of a girl’s life that is impacted by Days for Girls programs. The M&E program will conclude in October and then be drafted into a published paper. We'll report back when we have those results. We're grateful for the effort and we're willing to ask questions about what's working, and what might not be, for the sake of the girls and more awareness worldwide. We've been asking hard questions all along our journey and the results have been innovations led by the wisdom of the women we serve. Those innovations are working.
Meanwhile many partnering orgs have transported our kits and supplies with us and provided important distributions. Hundreds and hundreds of kits and bolts and bolts of specialized fabrics purchased with your support that are now being put to work to create kits in Uganda and beyond.
During the past several months, the Uganda team has also continued to provide health education to schools in Kampala and beyond. For many girls, this is the only chance they will get to learn about essential health matters and to ask questions, so the information we’re providing couldn’t be more important. More and more kits have been handed out all over the nation as women also learn to make their own.
In addition to working with 3 schools to implement the M&E program and continuing reproductive health training, the Days for Girls Uganda team has been hard at work getting ready to fill large kit orders. One high school in eastern Uganda has ordered 800 kits! With demand like this, it’s a good thing we’re scaling up!
How we’re scaling up is the current focus. The Days for Girls kit design is in demand far and wide. There is no end in site. However, even more than needing a hygiene kit, women want to know how to make the kits and earn income from selling them in their communities.
There is a huge demand among NGOs worldwide to invest in training for women who already know how to sew. Because of this, Days for Girls Uganda has already been able to build new partnerships, both with Ugandan and international organizations. Days for Girls team members are sewing and reproductive health experts, and that's exactly what we want to share with women in Uganda. Many income-generation projects exist for crafts, but DfG Uganda will be moving beyond that, providing women the skills, materials, and business support to enable them to sell something that every woman needs.
There are a lot of very exciting new developments as we move forward in our next steps. We are proud to welcome Eliza Chard, our new Uganda Country Director. Our staff members will also have some important new responsibilities as they gather data, serve to train trainers, provide kits and learn how to be better leaders in tackling these issues throughout their nation. It's an important effort not just for Uganda but to be scaled in the many nations also asking for this level of support in reaching women and girls lacking basic resources to manage their health and dignity month after month after month in a way they can count on. Thank you for being part of so many lives changed for good. Stay tuned for the reports from the M&E. We can't wait to share. Just one small snapshot of the many places you are empowering with more health, dignity and opportunity as we work to reach every girl. Everywhere. Period. Thank you!