GlobalGiving Site Visit - April 2014
Creating a Sustainable Community-based Business
While creating a community-based business that meets the needs of a community and addresses issues within the community is important, it's not everything. What's more important is that that business is able to sustain itself and the people involved over the long-term. This takes dedication, resources and the transfer of skills into the community along with a need for the products it provides outside of the community as well.
The need to create more opportunities for girls
In South Africa, illiteracy rates near 18% in adults 15 years or older. The unemployment rate is an estimated 25% with 25.9% of women over 15 being unemployed. Uneducated girls remain trapped in a downward cycle of denied rights and poverty throughout their lives. Fewer than 10% of the girls stay in school to go further than Grade 8 because of challenges that result in part from not having access to underwear and menstrual products as a young girl as well as other issues, such as food insecurity.
These challenges have a life-long damaging effect on girls' self-esteem and significantly reduce the opportunities available to them or that they can take advantage of because of them being denied the same opportunities as the boys might have in their communities.
Without even basic education girls remain trapped in a vicious circle of poverty. They are excluded from the labor market and forced into informal or unpaid work. They don’t understand basic health, nutrition, family planning or HIV/AIDS issues. They aren't able to secure any other rights for themselves. And, they will never reach their potential to become positive forces for good in their communities. It is imperative that girls be given an equitable chance at gaining an education and employment. And that is what GirlStuff™ is here to do, as a response to this desperate need.
You can support GirlStuff and help girls succeed
Since it's start GirlStuff has supplied over 1,000 menstrual kits and products to girls in the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu Natal, Limpopo and Guateng provinces of South Africa, as well as girls in Botswana and Zimbabwe. We are currently working on a potential contract in Mozambique, with the help of our GlobalGiving field Agent. The business is making great strides supporting the women and families working in GirlStuff and we hope to achieve volumes that will make the business sustainable within the next 12 months.
Here's what else we need:Last year GirlStuff had the products tested through the South African Bureau of Standards ('SABS') and the products passed with flying colors. The next step in the process is to have a test designed for reusable, washable menstrual pads and to gain actual certification. To accomplish this we will need to raise $4,000 to go through the full certification process. This will enable GirlStuff to use the SABS certified product seal and be able to sell the products into market segments we can't reach without the certification.
Having the certification will give us the opportunity to increase volumes substantially and therefore increase the number of people, specifically women, working in the business.
Spread the Word
Help us to get other people involved in the GirlStuff Program, which provide a direct benefit to girls in grades 5-12 in the communities of rural South Africa. Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please consider it and take action today. The women and girls we serve are grateful for all of the support you have already given them.
Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful women in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the EcoTravel link below for more information.
Thank you for your continued support of the women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities.
Please share this update with people and organizations you are connected to.
Product Samples from GirlStuff