When I visited my sponsored child Belita this year, I brought her some clothes and shoes from the U.S.. She was really happy to receive the clothes but something was off. I asked her if everything was alright and she hesitated before finally admitting that she had gotten her period this year and that she didn't have anything to use during it. I was surprised that I hadn't thought of that, as she is of age, but brought her right over to Mary to buy one of the packs they produce for this project. Belita was so relieved that this wouldn't be an issue anymore for her and I was reminded yet again of how we take for granted the ease of purchase and use of sanitary products here in the U.S..
While this project may not be exciting or seem all that critical, it is of huge importance to the young girls and women in Ng'ombe and Zambia. Access to materials that allow them to continue to go to school or work is crucial in helping them create new opportunities for themselves.
Ever notice how the little things can mean so much? For women and young girls in Zambia, menstruation is one of those little things that takes on much more importance than it should. Can you imagine spending those few days at home in fear of what may happen, or hours washing cloths that aren't adapted to their use? Imagine the frustration, isolation, and exhaustion from adding one more thing to the long list of responsibilities and difficulties in your life. Now imagine all of this happening in prisons and hospitals around the country.
Chikumbuso has a real passion for helping those around us - it's part of our mission statement and embedded in our culture here at the center. But so many of the women we would like to help are not in our center or even in our community. Providing sanitary pads may seem like a little thing, but it means the world to women who think they have been forgotten.
Help us to continue to provide this service to others - please donate to this project and keep us running for another year. Even if it's just a little - it means a lot!
As the holiday season is upon us, we at Chikumbuso are preparing to celebrate with family and friends, as well as the entire Chikumbuso community - whether here in Zambia or across the sea in the U.S.. We are so grateful for all the folks who make up our circle of love and count our blessings that each of you is in our lives.
But even as we celebrate, we remember those whose lives are less than full, who are missing their families as they sit in prisons across Zambia. And while we can't do much for them, we know we must do what we can. Sanitary napkins and other feminine hygiene products can seem like a drop in the bucket for these women who have lost everything, but we know from speaking with them that these seemingly insignificant gifts show them they are not forgotten. By supporting this project, you are telling these women that while they may have lost their freedom and time with their families this holiday season, they are important and part of a community.
Please consider supporting this project during this time - a time when being reminded of love, community, and thankfulness is so important. Blessings to each of you.
The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.
I was shown around the Factory Room where many of the clothes, bags, female sanitary pads and various other textile items are handmade by Chikumbuso community members. Rose, the assistant teacher, told me how the workers are first taught in the adjacent room for the first year on how to use sewing machines and learn the basics of tailoring. They then move on to the Factory Room where they are able to create handbags, laptop cases, dresses and even suits to sell and make a living for themselves.
Anderson was the first male student to graduate from the class and told me that he had been working at Chikumbuso for four years now. At this point, he can make a whole suit from scratch according to his friend Mike. Mike had only recently graduated from the tailoring school and explained how he was working here to be able to make enough money to go back to school. As he was fixing up the hem of a suit trouser, we discussed how cool it would be to be able to make your own suit, and he told me how he was glad that he was learning a skill that would later on prove to be very useful and not only for making a living, but everyday applications as well. I wish him all the best and hope he manages to attain the higher level education he is working for.
The more time you spend in Zambia the more you realize that inorder for things to happen you have to get out there, on the street and meet people. That is what happened at the Saturday market last week. While selling our Chikumbuso bags and products we met a wonderful doctor who is helping young vulnerable girls. When she found out about our sanitary pad project she was thrilled and wanted to know how she could buy some. Menstruation can be the one thing that keeps girls home and out of school for a week every month.
Chikumbuso was thrilled to sell her 15 sanitary packets and thanks to your donations was able to also "give back" five more to help this doctor help young women.
Blessings for your support of this program that helps girls make a difference in their own lives.
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