Hope for Girls is a program that is in partnership with “Days for Girls International” to educate girls in Uganda about puberty, sexuality and menstruation and give kits for that time of month. Fabric for pads and carrying bags are purchased from “Days for Girls International”. It is very hard for me, a Mzungu, to do some things on my own, especially in finding fabric, knowing how to talk to Ugandan girls specifically. I am very thankful to partner with Days For Girls in this project, the people there are Ugandan and are warm and giving and there to help me any way they can.
Many girls have to drop out of school because they miss too many days because of their periods each month and not having the supplies they need. Girls use leaves or other things that can cause infections and don’t protect their clothing from staining so they are made fun of at school when they have accidents. Some have to dig a hole in their home or somewhere away from people and sit over it until that time is over. Can you imagine? They are shamed and confused because they don’t understand what is happening to their bodies each month. There are myths and misinformation on menstruation, puberty and how pregnancy happens. It is shameful and not talked about. Many things we in America take for granted are a huge problem for girls and women here. Girls even sell their bodies or marry older men just to have money to buy pads. We take for granted that we have easy access to the things we need at that time of the month.
We were very blessed to receive a gift of donation from Riverpark Church in Shreveport Louisiana to get us started buying kits to distribute to school girls here in our village. I was able to order 350 kits to start and also able to give seamstresses an income in sewing kits to be distributed. We also purchased flip charts that help to explain what is happening to their bodies. And I was very blessed and so encouraged to have a wonderful group of women from America visit and help me my first time in hosting one hundred thirty girls from two different schools in our village. (They were part of a bigger group of visitors…I will be writing more about that soon.) We were able to give one hundred thirty kits plus fifty more that couldn’t attend. The ladies talked to the girls using the flipchart to show what happens every month, I was able to explain to them that God loves them so much and He did not make a mistake when he made them – that they are wonderfully and fearfully made. Only they are able to grow new life inside them and menstruation is a part of that. The girls were given opportunity to ask questions. This is something I have prayed so much about – that the girls would feel they were in a safe environment to ask questions. And praise God, they did! I can’t express the joy I had to hear the girls ask good questions and the ladies being able to answer them. And the best part was seeing how blessed both the young girls and our visiting ladies were.
I was able to have meaningful conversations with the teachers that came – we were able to give out fifteen kits to them also. They all want to partner and mentor me in being able to address problems that not only all women face but Ugandan girls in particular. I am so encouraged as we move forward in reaching as many girls as we can. I already have another school lined up to visit that have two hundred girls!
I want to thank all of the caring people with all my heart that gave financially and to the women who helped me my first time out in facilitating such a big endeavor!
Only $10 provides a kit of washable pads, wash cloth, soap, two pairs of panties and a pretty bag to carry it all in but also a part of that will go to seamstresses for income in sewing the kits. Along with the education about their bodies we talk about how to care for their kits – when taken proper care they can last them 2-3 years. Please think about donating to such a worthwhile project. Every dollar that you donate goes directly to everything The Mandate does. You can’t put a dollar amount on the impact these kits make for these girls!
For more info and to donate visit us here: themandate.com/campaigns/hope-for-girls/