We're gearing up to head to Uganda! By the time you get this, we'll be gone. Thanks to your support we will be taking additional fabric that they can not purchase there (and exploring further with dignitaries how to mnake that fabric available in Uganda). We'll distribute kits for two schools while there. The Lions Club of Harborview sent reading glasses for those going without (How can you sew if you can't see?). And... vitally, to train the trainers. What does that mean? We will teach Ugandan Regional Representatives to instruct women all over Uganda to train others to be Ambassadors of Women's Health: A national network of women sewing kits, empowering to teach about health, hygiene, reproductive health, menstrual health management and of course to distribute kits. This is it! Taking the national dignity model to the next level so it can be applied worldwide. And it's all thanks to you! You'll be with us in our hearts, because YOU chose to be a champion for girls with us.
You should see the girl's faces when they receive kits. I hope you can come someday. They are so grateful. The last time we were there a girl in Gulu, Uganda said when she was asked if her kit would really change anything, "We will no longer have to fear." Thanks to you more girls will have more dignity, more safety, less distraction at school and yes, less fear. For that matter, without your support, she might not have been able to stay in class at all. It never ceases to amaze me that such a simple, direct solution improves so much for girls around the globe. Thank you for being an important part of the solution.
If anyone asks what you made possible, tell them that YOU and Days for Girls International are creating a more dignified, humane and sustainable world for girls. Tell them that women and girls trained to be Ambassadors discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change and are given opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community’s betterment while ensuring quality sustainable feminine hygiene. THAT is what you are making possible. There is more: By proving the model and creating important partnerships we can reach every girl. Everywhere. Period. One girl at a time. Thanks in part to you.
We'll keep you posted!
Now, let's just hope the snow in the East has passed by the time we get there so our layover doesn't become a REALLY long stay.
Did you know that Days for Girls is committed to reaching every girl, everywhere. Period. By 2022. That can only happen with lots of collaboration, and by empowering in-country programs as well, like this one-- one of the first-- and the women you have helped in Zimbabwe. We were set to return again next month, but elections worldwide are not always a safe place to travel during election time. It is very difficult for us to wait to bring more supplies and empower more training in Zimbabwe. And at the advice of trusted allies, our scheduled trip has to wait.
The girls and women in Zimbabwe have taught us over and over again the gravity of the situation they face without access to hygiene. It was in Zimbabwe that a Minister of government said, "Dignity can't wait" when she heard about what we do and in response embraced our program and the dignity it restores. I'll never forget the 16 year old girl who came to a health clinic 3 days after they had distributed Days for Girls Dignity kits. She was one of many who traveled there after word got out. The leaders there tell us that she wept when she heard that the kits people were talking about were all gone. She explained that she had been using corn cobs for hygiene in an effort to stay in school and now had such severe infections that scarring had taken place. All because she wanted to learn and have a future. It was in Zimbabwe that Kgotsu taught us that an 11 year old could take the lead and teach her fellow classmates about feminine hygiene and how to make their own. Afterwards she said, "I no longer consider myself an orphan" because now she is a leader. It was in Zimbabwe that a newly trained Days for Girls Ambassador of Women's Health told me, "This is going to change our world."
Your support has made such a difference. We are commited to continuing this important effort. So you can imagine how it pains us to wait to keep the results going. Meanwhile those already doing training and making kits are doing what they can and soon, hopefully very soon, we will be able to get more supplies and support to the team there. When we do, your support will be with us. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, we continue our programs worldwide. Because it's true... dignity can't wait. Thank you for your support in making it all happen.
Did you hear? Days for Girls International is a brand new Nike Girl Effect Champion for 2013 thanks to you! What does that mean? Greater awareness of the consequences to girls and women worldwide going without menstrual health management (MHM). Because with awareness comes momentum for change. And important funding to reach more girls worldwide. In fact, your support added up to more than $15,000 in November. That is a lot of girls, training and supplies. Thanks to you. In addition it adds up to PR support from the Girl Effect, as well as additional funding. All of that means more girls celebrating more days of education, health, and dignity. We are still grinning ear to ear at all that you helped make possible. Can you blame us for sending you a standing ovation of thanks?
Now empowerment is already on the move: 2,000 yards of PUL, the speciality fabric required for the moisture barrier in kits, has been ordered and is headed to Kenya and from there some to Uganda and Zimbabwe. 2,000 yards! That adds up to 40,000 shields. Thanks to you. Seriously big impact. And the next training for Uganda Representatives that train Ambassadors of Women's Health is funded so the in-country pilot there can be furthered. From there it can be scaled worldwide. Kit supplies are being gathered for Kenya, Uganda, Malawa, and Zimbabwe. Can you feel the momentum? The thousands and thousands of girls and women having more days of freedom, more days of education, more days of empowering their communities, families and friends.
How much impact is your support giving? It is changing the world. You see, when you empower girls and women, they stand up for their communities, they pass the good on, they empower those around them. Last Fall in Zimbabwe a shy woman named Grace was one of the 50 being trained to be an Ambassador of Women's Health. I had wondered why her Chief had selected her out of all of the candidates to come train from her region and when I saw her tiny perfect hand stitches it became apparent. This woman has real skills. But it was the next moment that took my breath away. She looked up at me and said quietly, "This is going to change our world." Or 11 year old Kgotso (pronounced Go-tso) that learned how to make kits and went on to teach the girls in her school to make them. Kgotso no longer considers herself an orphan, but a leader now. I wish you could see all of their faces. The smiles, the hope, the joy. Lives change thanks to your support.
We'll report more soon, but we just had to share the results of your donations. Thank you for joining us in championing for girls. You did it!