Linda, the Director of Days for Girls Zimbabwe, kept going despite pain and illness for months, working to do training and distribution of kits for girls and women. And then came the opportunity to go to Germany to seek greater medical care options and to be with her husband. Yes, Linda had left the USA to return to her homeland of Zimbabwe to take Days for Girls to her nation. I don't know about you, but we find that amazing. That she has so much passion that she would move her family-- even when her husband would be leaving for another location.
And an amazing thing happened as she prepared to leave, the other women trained to be Ambassadors of Women's Health (thanks in part to YOU) stepped up and are keeping the program going. The remarkable thing is that they are all volunteering. Something many say is unheard of when they are living in such an impoverished place. They have a passion for ensuring that girls have access to feminine hygiene. They know personally how high the stakes are and they have seen the joy that girls have when they learn about reproductive health, safety and that they can have quality feminine hygiene they can count on month after month.
Currently, the trainers are focusing on reaching groups through schools and churches as they teach women to make their own kits. Most are being done in the Bullawayo district and Lupane district at this time.
The pilot program currently has 8 sewing machines in place. Our next step is to get more sewing machines to the rural team leaders so they can teach girls in their areas how to sew on the machines and the resulting kits will be as durable as they can be.
Local women's groups are focusing on their local areas to save funds, with plans to expand the program to more areas when more fabric is available to them. It is part of the Project Plan for the team to train more local women in the program once there is sufficient funding for more fabric.
Another exciting development is that other schools, nonprofits and even the Minister of Education David Coltart have support for our specific design of kits and hygiene and empowerment training as well as in receiving pad kits for their girls and in eventually expanding the program even more!
The girls benefiting from the program are reporting consistent results - that since they received their kits they now can stay in school. After a full year all of the girls report using their kits consistently, and in four cases, they preferred the washable even when their school had occassional access to disposable, saying that their DfG kits are more comfortable and that disposables have tape that does not hold well and do not work as well.
The team in Zimbabwe and the Days for Girls International team both would like to sincerely offer our gratitude to all of our generous friends through GlobalGiving for helping to sponsor this program. It's working!
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