Lift a girl. Lift a Nation. The change you are making in Africa for a girl... times thousands
By Celeste Mergens - Executive Director Days for Girls International
Joan training girls in Uganda
It's contagious, the knowledge that you have been making possible for girls and women in Africa. The additional days of more health, dignity, productivity and education made possible by your sponsored Days for Girls kits are adding up. Even the confidence that Days for Girls kits make posible, it's all contagious and expanding thanks to you.
Your support is making it possible for girls to have the important hygiene kits that help them stay in school AND for young leaders to be trained and have resources to get supplies to girls. Young women like Joan N in nothern Uganda who was trained to be an Ambassador of Women's Health and now teaches girls in her nation about menstruation, health, hygiene and how to make kits. Here's her report and a photo of her teaching in her community under the shade of a tree. "I conducted training in Kumi district. It was very interesting and the girls also liked it. Thank you for the skill you gave us, now we can stay at school even in our days which was difficult before." Anne K. responded to news of Joan's efforts by thanking YOU. She says,"Thank you SO much for investing in Joan's training and the supplies/kits you so generously donated to this group of girls in Uganda. This group of girls is one that's close to my family's heart and we are so glad to have learned about DFG." Real women. Real girls who have more dignity, more knowledge, more opportunities. Your support is working.
Thanks to your donations, many women trained to be Ambassadors of Women's Health are reaching girls and women in remote communities of Uganda and Zimbabwe. These rural communities have limited opportunities for education and lack many basic services, your support and new partnerships are empowering hygiene and health education for thousands, thanks to you. Days for Girls is now working to provide supplies and education people would not otherwise receive without your support.
Last summer we went to Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe to conduct training for over 100 women to become Ambassadors of Women's Health so they could reach out to break cycles of shame and limitation by sharing menstrual hygiene managment education and how to make their own washable femiine hygiene kits. We were on a shoestring budget and trusting those we worked with to be the leaders we knew they could be for their communities. Since then your support started making it possible for more and more resources and training to reach them. Thousands of girls now have kits and more every day. In addition, sewing cooperatives are able to have more work for those they train, giving much needed employment as well, all while providing more dignity and opportunity for girls. The Ugandan DfG team is putting systems and partnerships in place to scale up. But that doesn't help you to see the tremendous change you are effecting. You see, your support is about the multiplier effect. What you are making possible is women (and men) helping women and girls, and the shaping and proving a model that can be replicated and scaled, and that is big. But it is more than that, it is about the girls.
One girl, her story, times thousands. Girls like Kgotso, an 11 year old Zimbabean girl who has taken it upon herself to teach other girls in her school to make Days for Girls kits. She says, "I no longer consider myself an orphan. I am a leader." Or Sharon in Gulu, Uganda, who is also an orphan living with her grandmother. She reports that before she recieved her kit she had to ask her grandmother for "Always" money, which would upset her grandmother because she did not have the money. So then Sharon would ask a neighbor because she did not want to miss school. Her neighbor would sometimes help but Sharon would wear the disposable so long that it would create blisters and hurt. Now that she has a Days for Girls kit she says she doesn't have to ask for what she needs and they are soft and comfortable so she doesn't get sores anymore. There are many, many more girls, thanks to you.
Olivia, the director of DfG Uganda reports, "We humbly submit that we had a chance of forming clubs and identfyng Ambassdors in the Mukono District, Gomba District and Maddu District and one community in Mutundwe in Kampala. Introducing Days for Girls in schools both in Primary and Secondary schools. St. Ann primary school, Nakibano primary school, Umea Islamic school, where we conducted a health education on how to keep proper hygiene and how to stay in school, free from distruction of having issues concerning menstrual periods and shared the importance of washable kits and how effective they are in our daily needs." Many have received kits but others are waiting for more fabric for more kits. And it is on its way to them thanks to DfG supporters like you, and they were recently able to purchase local fabric as well to make kits for those schools and more.
In Zimbabwe two individuals would not take no for an answer as they reached out to their communities and instructed with the knowledge they had gained. They also had the leadership of a Governor who embraced Days for Girls with enthusiasm. Those two, one a woman and one the first ever male Ambassador of Women's Health, are on course to cover their entire district. They have covered 27 schools, and reported reaching thousands of individuals.
From the 27 schools covered 50 students were selected to represent their respective schools and were trained. Several women from the community were selected to take part in this exercise and were trained too. Also there’s women’s groups that, using in part the knowledge and fabric resources that you made possible, are also making pads in Lupane. This group applied for grants and loans to forward their efforts to make pads. Since January they have managed to make 200 kits of which the Manager of the centre says, “It’s quite an achievement considering the fact that it’s the farming season.” During the farming season most households would rather put their focus and energy on farming since its their source of livelihood and in countries like Zimbabwe women are the backbone of farming. They did this with the PUL fabric DFG supporters like you provided. Now they are requesting more fabric and funding for fabric.
It's breathtaking to consider all that is possible. World peace... One pad at a time. DfGI will be taking more fabric and resources to the teams in Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Kenya (as well as Zambia and Malawai) this Summer and gathering their stories and results. That fabric and needed resources will be there, in part because of YOUR support.
Their own kits thanks to Joan... and DfG supporter
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