Training in Nakapiripirit
Cissy** sat in the back of the class, fidgeting quietly and glancing uncomfortably at her peers. She wore the same beautiful skirt that all the girls had – knee-length, bright, multicolored, swinging, and full. It had been hand-sewn by her from strips of cloth. She was among her friends, but still she look nervous and unsettled.
Our team was in the Nakapiripirit district of Uganda providing a training to out of school girls in women’s health and an introduction to Kit making. Each girl would learn to hand sew her very own washable pad using the tried and tested Days for Girls pattern. In partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and with the support of Global Giving, Days for Girls will be training 3,000 girls in total across one of the most remote, low-income regions of East Africa over a period of 3-years.
But on this day, our lead trainer, Dianah, could tell that something wasn’t right. As the training assistants began passing out materials to begin sewing, Dianah approached Cissy to find out what was wrong. Shyly, Cissy revealed that she was menstruating. Cissy did not have a pad, and she did not even have underwear. She was rotating her skirt to absorb the flow. Normally, Cissy would have gone to the river and sat on the rocks throughout the day. She would have returned home at night to sleep, and gone back to the river the following day until her period ended.
At the end of the day, Cissy had sewn her own Days for Girls Kit. Her smile revealed everything. Utter joy, happiness, and most of all, relief. Relief that she would no longer face long days missing out on her life because of something as natural as a period.
Along with the Kits, each girl had gained valuable knowledge and a rare opportunity to share their stories and experiences in a safe space with Ugandan women who they could see as mentors. To express their gratitude, the entire class of girls gathered together and began singing and dancing. They composed an original song about their new knowledge of menstrual hygiene.
This is just one example of the incredible work that has been possible because of your support! In addition to this program, Days for Girls Uganda has trained over 2,000 girls so far in 2016, they have supported 13 Micro-Enterprises across the region to sell Kits. And the data shows that these Micro-Enterprises are already selling Kits even in the most rural communities. This would not be possible with the incredible support from our Global Giving community. You are helping us to reach girls like Cissy every day, with long-term, sustainable solutions!
**Name has been changed to protect her privacy
Training girls to use a treadle machine
DfG staff capacity building
Sewing shields through a DfG Micro-Enterprise