I feel this way about Days for Girls, a program a fellow quilter introduced me to a few months ago. Only after finding out about this wonderful organization did I realize that I'd been searching for a way to help and empower other women.
Basically this is an organization set up to help girls in impoverished countries stay in school. What is stopping these girls from attending? Simple - their cycle.
While it may seem difficult to wrap our Walmart warped minds around it, in other countries they don't have grocery store isles full of hygiene products. When girls come of age, you can imagine what happens: every woman's nightmare, a public display of their cycle all over their pants, in front of their classmates.
Here's a first hand account from the director of Days for Girls, :
"What we see at DFG is tremendous need. There is the email from a young girl whose family could not spare the money to purchase feminine hygiene products.So that's what this program does - it gives girls back their days. Instead of hiding at home, too embarrassed to attend school, too afraid of another accident, girls are able to stay in school confident of their ability to stay clean.
She tried using newspaper, which gave her a rash, and toilet paper, which promptly soaked through her school uniform. After being taunted by the boys at school when she got blood on her skirt, she complained of headaches during her periods to stay home from school.
These girls are often skipped over for Secondary education because of their "handicap" of menstruation absenteeism. The desire to stay in school is so strong that many (not a few) are sexually exploited in exchange for feminine hygiene. Several women hearing our presentations said they had not thought of menstruation being a good thing until our presentations. Our presentations are also a unique time to discuss hygiene, health and the value of women."
What I love the most is there are many ways to help! If you'd like to contribute to Days for Girls you can:
- Donate money - 100% of everything donated to this organization actually reaches the people it's intended to help. You can see the many ways you can help right here.
- Sew pads, shields, or drawstring bags - Sewing these items is essential for the program. Each girl is given a drawstring bag of sewn hygiene items that can be washed and reused year after year. Excellent videos on creating pads and shields can be found right here.
- Donate supplies - Washcloths, soap, and sturdy ziplock bags help to create kits to be given to each girl Days for Girls reaches.
- Buy a necklace - this beautiful necklace symbolizes all that Days for Girls does for the young women it reaches and the sale of 1 necklace funds 1 kit to be created.
I'm pretty tired of my charity donations just padding the pockets or paying the "administration fees" of the people in charge. With Days for Girls, everything donated is actually used by the women who need our help.
I can think of nothing more empowering - giving girls back the days they would normally spend alone, embarrassed, hating the very thing that makes them a woman. It's time we gave these girls their days back to study, learn, grow, and prosper.
Let's go quilt,