This is an awkward topic on which to post, but the truth is that many young girls do not have access to feminine hygiene products. Monthly cycles can keep them out of circulation, meaning lost days at school. https://www.directrelief.org/2017/01/how-hygiene-kit-empowers-girls/. There can also be shame or embarrassment associated with what comes naturally…
Handmade feminine hygiene kits help girls stay in school.
Jolly, a friend of board member Elaine Chagnon, does work in Uganda and shared several feminine hygiene kits with Elaine before she left for Nigeria. Jolly has helped train young girls to sew their own kits.
The kits include soft, flannel pads that fit inside a "holder" that wraps around the underwear. There is a bar of soap, a washcloth, and an additional plastic bag where soiled pads can be placed with some water to soak them. Everything fits inside a cloth bag which can be discreetly carried. The kit is brilliant.
Girls sew their own kits
Nana Dogo, wife to our partner Bishop Markus Dogo, has a women's center where widows are trained to sew school uniforms. The widows could also learn to sew the kits and sell them.
In addition to the sample kits, Elaine brought flannel, wash cloths, and a roll of velcro that could be used instead of snaps on the original sample. Snaps are harder to come by...
Nana was very excited to share the kits. One was shared with the home economics teacher at Kafanchan Junior Secondary School. She was able to create a first prototype with materials brought to get them started. They are now working to have each girl sew her own kit as part of a home economics project.
Elaine says, “One could never have even considered that a kit like this could be of such value. We have access to so many everyday products that make our lives easier; it is hard to imagine what it would be like without them.”
Shown below are the supplies taken to Nigeria, the sample kit, the first prototype next to an original, and the carry bag for everything.