My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period

by My Arms Wide Open

We're bringing in partners

We've really only just begun our work on the Pads Against Bullying (PAB) project, which is an off shoot of our GirlStuff.Period initiative, and we are already seeing some great interest from partners and organizations in our network. We talked about this opportunity last month in the PAB initiative, and feel it is important that all of our supporters are aware of the potential impact this program can offer for the girls and women in the communities we serve.

Last month, iCollege, a Cape Town based college course provider has given the students and people unemployed in Bergnek the opportunity to do a college course in Polokwane, that is 45km away from Bergnek, for free. We are speaking to the kids in the community and seeing who'd like to apply for the courses.

iCollege offers accredited and skills-based training with National SETA accredited courses and International courses and is a Member of the Association of Private Providers of Education, Training and Development, in South Africa.

Goal Setting

An added benefit to this opportunity is that it gives the kids currently working to graduate an added incentive to do well in their upcoming year end exams, so that they qualify for the courses and receive the scholarship.

More Opportunities for Girls

We will be raising the funds to support the kids transport to and from the campus daily as part of the Pads Against Bullying project campaign, as the goal of the project is to help keep girls in school and offer them more opportunities to thrive and change their circumstances.

NEW: Web Site for GirlStuff.Period

Towards the end of this month look for our announcement and launch GirlStuff.Period's very own web site. We are excited and the women of GirlStuff.Period are even more so.

Share your Excitement

We ask that you forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the Pads Against Bullying project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too.

We won’t give up, and we know that you won’t either!


It's about girls rights to the same opportunities

We're Expanding our Reach

This quarter we're excited to be taking next steps and have increased our awareness campaigns on both Google Ads and in Social Media. What we are doing to create awareness of this important project and the GirlStuff.Period business is to address the issues girls face separately, so that they don’t get lost in the 'noise'. 

A Conversation with Anna

You've heard from Anna, the face of GirlStuff.Period and about her story in some of our previous reports. This past month while talking to her, we got into a conversation about the issues girls face. Anna, made some interesting comments regarding the issues. She noted that when we talk about ALL the issues, it's as if one becomes more important or less important than another. There just seems to be too much going on. Anna, feels we should deal with one at a time because they are all important in a girl’s life, and each has a real impact on self-esteem and a girls’ performance at school or at home, away from school. She's speaking from her own experience and we agree.

Where to Start?

We asked Anna to pick a topic she felt was a good one to start with and she chose bullying as she felt, from her personal perspective that if the bullying was dealt with, she would have at least had a chance to deal with the others one by one after that. Anna, is not a girl that gives up very easily and so if she feels this way, what about girls who feel less confident than she does?

Pads AGAINST Bullying

This discussion has resulted in our first new campaign here on GlobalGiving called, 'Pads AGAINST Bullying', and we ask that you look out for our ads and blogs related to the campaign and forward them to friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuff.Period project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with people like Anna. We appreciate you and Anna most certainly does.

GirlStuff.Period Manufacturing
GirlStuff.Period Manufacturing

What is the Main Reason Girls Quit School in South Africa?

Why do girls quit schools in developing and underserved countries and communities around the world? It is a valid and highly relevant question both in the interests of girls as well as the communities they live in.

To explain why this happens, I’d like to tell you a short story from one of the girls, we will call ‘Anna’, in a community we work in.

My name is ‘Anna’, and I’m 15 years old and used to attend school in my village in South Africa. We are a poor family and I live with 6 other siblings and my Mother. I know I have a Father, but I have never met him as he lives and works in the city and sometimes sends money but he doesn’t come home.

I was Happy and then...

When I was 13 I was still at school and was playing at break at school, when all of a sudden the boys and some of the girls started laughing and pointing at me. I could not understand what I had done that was so funny.

One of my friends grabbed my arm and pulled me to the ground to sit down, telling me not to sit on my dress, to pull it out from under me. I was confused and scared and started crying, and they kept pointing and laughing and laughing. My dress felt wet, it was strange, and when I looked down I saw blood! I remember screaming. I jumped up and ran out of school and all the way to our small mud brick house.

My Mother heard me crying and came to see what was wrong. She held me and told me this was a normal part of being a girl. I asked if I might die? Mother smiled and said no my dear, you won’t die. This will come each month and it means your body is getting ready to be able to have babies. I was scared and cried and asked if I could stop the blood. My Mother said I could wear a pad and would also have to wear underwear, but we couldn’t afford either of those, so when I had my period I would have to stay home from school. I said I was embarrassed and afraid and did not want to go back. She told me I would be fine and once the period stopped she took me back to school.

The boys pointed and giggled and I felt really embarrassed all day and did not want to play with anyone for a while. The next month, my period came again as my Mother said it would. She had kept me home a few days before this time so I didn’t have an accident again.

Being left behind

When I got back after this period I felt confused in the classroom as they were talking about things I had not learned and I did not understand. My teacher said I should just be quite and listen. I felt lost and over the next few months it got worse. I didn’t fit in. I noticed some of my girl friends were not at school either. After the 6th month, I never went back to school.

So now you know. I hope my story inspires you to help other girls like me, so we can have menstrual supplies, and underwear so we can learn like the boys can learn.

My Arms Wide Open supports the establishment of community based businesses like GirlStuff.Period, so that communities can create the change they’d like to see for themselves.

Please forward this report to your family, friends and the people you know.

If you’d like to help our women in business, consider becoming a volunteer or making a recurring monthly donation.

In gratitude.

GirlStuff.Period Customers
GirlStuff.Period Customers
Happy People
Happy People

You may be wondering just what the women of Bergnek have been up to... 

It's been a while since we last communicated through our GG Portal and we apologize for the absence. Unfortunately, our email server was hijacked last year and it took as some time to recover it. Good news is, we are back on track and have put additional security measures in place to prevent that happening again and at the same time we also had our web site updated.

The women of GirlStuff.Period have been busy as usual, and they have not waivered once in building and growing their business. As orders are becoming more consistent they have developed a plan to expand their production and hire a few more staff, based on a bigger project the team is bidding on.

The team continue to provide donated menstrual kits to girls who simply cannot afford to buy them and this accounts for about 15% of production, which is a big number and hence the continued need for donations to help offset the costs of the donated menstrual kits.

Spread the word: Help make 2017 another great year for The GirlStuff.Period women entrepreneurs

Please consider forwarding this report to at least 2 of your friends and family.

You should be proud of how you’ve helped the Bergnek Community.


Whatever you decide, please do it today! The girls, women and children we serve extend a warm smile and heartfelt ‘thank you’ for your support. We are all grateful for your support. Please remember to forward this report to at least 2 of your friends and family.

With our deepest Gratitude,

The My Arms Wide Open Family of Communities

P.S. Watch for us on GlobalGiving Bonus Day, July 14, 2017


Delegates from the meeting in KwaZulu Natal
Delegates from the meeting in KwaZulu Natal


In our previous update we shared the need to expand the GirlStuff business. We are delighted to announce a new partnership with an amazing group of people lead by Farzana Patel and her Xanopia organization. 

Xanopia works to provide a full turnkey solution to socio economic problems by empowering women to be in the forefront of the economic transformation and be agents of social change.  Xanopia is a business entity as well as an organization that aims at improving lives of women and children, mainly in disadvantaged areas.

Xanopia is a regional partner of the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBW) for Africa.  This collaboration is seen as a significant step in achieving women’s economic empowerment in Africa and across the Commonwealth.

As a result of our partnership the GirlStuff Business has gained exposure to new opportunities and audiences. The most recent of which was a presentation to a large group of business, education and community leaders in KwaZula Natal. This is being followed by another meeting in Johannesburg. Take a look at some of the pictures we’ve included from the events. 

We will need help

As with any increase or business growth, especially a new and fledgling business like this, it will take an additional requirement for funds to get things to where they need to be to efficiently fill the new orders we have received.

Make a new donation today? Making a donation of $25 right now, will help children and families in need, in the Bergnek Community. Making it a recurring donation will support the girls of Bergnek all year long.

We really need your support!

Help make 2016 a BIG year for the GirlStuff Team and DONATE NOW! 


Whatever you decide, please do it today and pass along this message to your friends and family and anyone who might be able to help! The girls, women and children we serve extend a warm smile and heartfelt ‘thank you’ for your support. We are all grateful for your support.

With our deepest Gratitude,

The My Arms Wide Open Family of Communities

Members of the Xanopia team and partners
Members of the Xanopia team and partners
The presentation
The presentation

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Organization Information

My Arms Wide Open

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Warren Te Brugge
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
$14,317 raised of $45,000 goal
456 donations
$30,683 to go
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