A TRIP to Cambodia where poverty, a lack of clean water and sanitation were obvious has inspired a Forrestfield sports teacher to start a Days for Girls team, to make reusable, long-lasting feminine hygiene products for disadvantaged girls.
Around the world, girls and women resort to using rags, mattress stuffing, banana leaves, feathers, and even cow dung to manage their menstruation.
Tracey Kleinhanss, from Woodlupine Primary School, said many girls living in poverty were unable to go to school during menstruation.
“Collectively they are missing three months of school each year, which limits girls’ future opportunities,” she said.
Days for Girls started in 2008 when the founder Celeste Mergens was in Kenya and discovered girls were sitting on cardboard for several days each month during their period, often going without food unless someone would bring it to them.
The group now has 50,000 volunteers around the globe who sew and assemble sustainable, quality feminine hygiene kits for impoverished girls without access to menstruation products.
Mrs Kleinhanss said it was great the school community, parents and teachers, were keen to get behind the initiative.
“Working together on such a worthwhile project has given participants a new focus and promoted a wonderful community spirit within the school as well as deep personal satisfaction for those involved,” she said.
“After tentative beginnings everyone found tasks they enjoyed doing, from tearing fabric, measuring ribbons, ironing bags and logos, collecting soaps, to various sewing tasks.
“Production went into overdrive on the Christmas break when school staff had more time to contribute and we have now produced and packed 70 kits.
“Each kit provides a girl with everything she needs to manage her period and should last three years.
“The kits will be heading to countries such as Uganda, Cambodia, Peru, Nepal, Tanzania, Phillipines and West Papua.”
Mrs Kleinhanss said new members were welcome as well as donations of materials.
“We are keen to welcome new sewers to our group which meets every fortnight on a Wednesday at Woodlupine Primary School in Forrestfield,” she said.
“Any donations of floral/patterned fabric that is 100 per cent cotton or polycotton are always appreciated.”
To get involved, call the school on 9453 6928.