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My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period

by My Arms Wide Open
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
It really is important!
It really is important!

People are talking!

News travels fast and it's no different in Africa. The GirlStuff Team are receiving great recognition at a government level as well as, and most importantly, in other communities. We've been approached by members of other communities wanting to get involved. This is really positive as we will expand operations by inviting groups of women and girls in other communities to join the GirlStuff Cooperative. We will be giving you more news as we conclude discussions within the new communities.

How does this help?

This helps as it makes access to the GirlStuff menstrual kits easier for girls in more communities and at the same time provides employment for additional women and girls within those communities.

What does it take to set up additional locations?

As we open up additional locations we will of course be needing additional machines, raw materials and marketing support. By getting involved, like a number of our regular donors, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in the life of a young girl.

The connection between food security and menstrual supplies

We highly recommend that you also visit our 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' page to see how we combine the work we do here at GirlStuff, which attracts girls back to school, and the food they grow in our vertical gardens helps to keep them in school.

There are more young girls to help and YOUR Contributions and DONATIONS MAKE the DIFFERENCE

You can support the My Arms Wide Open, ‘GirlStuff and Pads4Girls’ project  and community cooperative and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the women, girls and families we serve, by making a donation now. Want to help on an ongoing basis? Set up a monthly recurring donation as well as sharing this report with your family and friends.

Please Donate Now!

We are grateful for your support. The women, men, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude for your support.

The GirlStuff
The GirlStuff 'Crew'

The Story of GirlStuff

When the idea of GirlStuff was born out of the first Iziko Labahlali (Hearth of the Community) program in the community of Bergnek, it was more of a focus on giving girls the opportunity to get back into school. By providing girls with washable, reusable menstrual kits because they could not afford regular menstrual supplies they had the opportunity to return to school and not have to miss school up to a week a month because of the lack of supplies when they had their period, each month.

Understanding the Core Problems - What's been acheived

As the program evolved the Bergnek community and ourselves realized it was not just about menstrual supplies, we also needed to help the girls with the food they would otherwise be collecting each day to feed their families. This is when My World In a Garden was born to build vertical food gardens that the girls could tend and reap the rewards of tending the gardens and harvesting the vegetables grown in the wall.

The number of girls in grade 8 and above in the local school has increased dramatically over the past two years as a result of our programs and educating girls about the importance of staying school so that they have access to the same opportunities boys do after they finish school

It's about a Girl

In one of our last reports we told the story of Anna and how having the GirlStuff Menstrual kits helped her to not only stay in school, but to excel, and now she is mentoring her little sister to do the same.

Next Steps

As the women of GirlStuff have attracted more and more interest, the business has started to grow and they are in a position to convert GirlStuff into a community coop that they will all be a part of. This is an exciting moment as the business becomes a reality for them on their own terms. Skills have been transferred, learned and applied in the business. The team has pulled together and identified new opportunities and now also makes school uniforms to diversify and increase revenues.

Your Contributions and Donations DO make the Difference

You can support the My Arms Wide Open, Pads4Girls project and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the girls, women and children that we serve, by making a donation now or setting up a monthly recurring donation as well as sharing this report with your family and friends.

Please Donate Now!

We are grateful for your support. The women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude and thanks.

Creating the
Creating the 'opportunities' to stay in school

Links:

Meet Anna
Meet Anna

The women of Bergnek work hard every day to produce the menstrual kits needed by the girls and women in Bergnek and other communities around South Africa. Sometimes they are so close to their daily routine that they get lost in it and so it is always an invigorating experience to meet some of the girls who benefit from their work and hear first hand about the difference they make and the contributions they make to their community.

Meet Anna...

One of the beneficiaries of the GirlStuff program is a young lady named Anna (Picture below). Anna has been using the GirlStuff Kit successfully for two years now and her parents have also purchased a school blazer for her made by GirlStuff, now that she is in Grade 10. Anna has stayed in school and has an excellent attendance record, according to one of her teachers, Katie Thomson. Anna has also been encouraging her younger sister to use the GirlStuff Kit and mentors her sister about the importance of staying in school.

Anna's career aspiration is to become a nurse. After meeting with Anna's parents to talk about GirlStuff, they have agreed that Anna can become the 'face of GirlStuff' and what we'd like to do in return is to set up an education fund for Anna so that she will be able to attend Nursing School, in South Africa. She is a hard worker and pays attention to her studies ensuring that she gets the highest marks she can so that she will have the opportunity to become a nurse, with the help of the My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff supporters.

How can you help?

Let's help to secure a bright future for Anna! Your donations and support can and will change the lives of girls like Anna and her sister.

Please Take Action!

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. 

The Women of GirlStuff
The Women of GirlStuff
The Future of Bergnek
The Future of Bergnek
School Uniforms for all
School Uniforms for all

GirlStuff is about Equality

The GirlStuff initiative and business is grounded in equality. It is not about dominance or tipping the scales one another. It is about bringing a balance to communities, as they grow into the future, in which every person is embraced, accepted and valued because they are a person. 

The Power in Equality?

Equality is having the ability and foresight to see the person first and because we see first simply the person and NOT their attributes or defining characteristics, we are in fact, able to celebrate their uniqueness and see clearly how they can contribute and strengthen the community. It's not to say people do not have attributes that may not be valuable, it's about seeing the ones that are and being able to apply those they do have appropriately or even differently.

It's the ability and skill, to be able to see more than simply judgment, which enables people to become resilient and be able to hold onto hope and keep moving forward, upward.

Reaching Further, Faster

In building the business in Bergnek, we've realized we need to take bigger steps, and to take them at a faster pace. As a result, Bergnek Community Projects has taken the steps to grow the Bergnek based, GirlStuff business by signing an MOU in October 2014 to raise money and expand the Business working with a new partner. We know that GirlStuff provides girls with the washable and reusable feminine hygiene supplies that they cannot afford to buy, but desperately need, so they can attend school. We are also closing the loop on other related needs, such as school uniforms and sports wear. The additional funds that we raise will help us to reach across South Africa and the surounding region.

Why the focus on Girls? Keeping girls in school longer, gives them the chance to take advantage of opportunities that they otherwise would never have had the opportunity to, which has a direct benefit on their communities. In general, there are different expectations set for boys, and they get to avail themselves of a broader range of opportunities than girls do. The facts show that girls who get exposed to more opportunities, greater opportunities, do significantly more for their communities than their male counterparts. The time has come to do more to enable girls to see more and do more.

How can you help?

Your contributions and donations DO help and there are a number of ways that you can support the communities efforts to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the girls, women and children that we serve.

Please Donate Now!

GirlStuff Pads
GirlStuff Pads
Sports Gear from GirlStuff
Sports Gear from GirlStuff

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together

Menstrual Kits

Keeping girls in school is a great cause and we love what we do, however there is a bigger picture we need to consider aside from providing the reusable, washable, menstrual kits we make and supply to the girls in the communities we work in.

Fresh, Healthy Food

Proving the menstrual kits for the girls that simply cannot afford to buy menstrual kits is a key part of helping to get girls back into schools and to support them all the way through grade 12 and beyond. Another part of the picture includes providing support for the food they would otherwise be gathering or working for to bring home to their families. 

To address this, My Arms Wide Open also has the 'My World in a Garden' program, also on GlobalGiving, in which we grow healthy vegetables and herbs in vertical garden walls We establish and build these gardens on the school property or in the community center compound, if there is one in the community. The technology we use allows us to produce enough fresh vegetables to be able to support the girls and their families each week, up to 150 people per wall. We use less water and the girls are able to tend the walls and reap the benefits for their families.

The clothes our girls need

In addition to the fresh vegetables and herbs our gardens provide, GirlStuff has now also started making full school uniforms and sports gear that the girls need in order to attend school.

Completing the puzzle

Once we address all three of these needs, we have a chance to keep girls in school longer, and hopefully all the way through Grade 12 and beyond to enable them to afford themselves of the same opportunities boys have without having to go through the complications girls do.

To complete the puzzle My Arms Wide Open and it’s partners also build and support infrastructure development in the communities. Our focus in our ‘One Brick at a Time’ program, also on GlobalGiving, is on water, sanitation, housing and healthcare.

Your contributions make the difference

Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for your support.

Take a Trip and Get involved

Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful people in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the ‘My World In a Garden’ EcoTravel. Option.

Gratitude

We are grateful for your support. The women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude and thanks.

School Uniforms by GirlStuff
School Uniforms by GirlStuff

Links:

 

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Organization Information

My Arms Wide Open

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada
Website:
Project Leader:
Warren Te Brugge
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
$15,819 raised of $45,000 goal
 
553 donations
$29,181 to go
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