Joondalup women’s efforts to create sanitary kits helping girls in developing countries

Soroptimist International Joondalup members making kits for Days for Girls.
Days for Girls kit recipients in Kigalia, Rwanda.
Days for Girls in Papua New Guinea.
Soroptimist International Joondalup members making kits for Days for Girls. Days for Girls kit recipients in Kigalia, Rwanda. Days for Girls in Papua New Guinea.

A GROUP of women in the northern suburbs spend hundreds of hours fundraising and sitting around sewing tables to create sanitary kits for girls in developing countries.

The sewing, cutting, assembling and fundraising by members of Soroptimist International (SI) Joondalup supports not-for-profit Days for Girls, whose vision is for every girl and woman to have ready access to feminine hygiene by 2022.

This year, SI Joondalup has already raised $1500 to make 150 kits, which will be delivered in November to girls in Cambodia and Tanzania who have little to no access to feminine hygiene solutions.

Member Susan Cromb said the group had supported Days for Girls since 2015 and supported the organisation’s aim to create better conditions for women by providing access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education.

“We want to raise awareness of the issue that a menstrual cycle for many girls and women in developing countries can be hugely disruptive, to the point where they are missing out on education and work,” she said.

Days for Girls WA co-ordinator Karin Maltby said that since 2014, more than 4000 kits had been created in WA, making it one of the largest Australian distributors, with kits delivered to 15 developing countries.

“The need for reusable, sustainable and washable hygiene kits for girls and women in developing countries is immense – each time we deliver kits to a community, we get a thousand more requests,” she said.

“In many of the communities we visit, menstruation is a highly taboo topic, and often-times one that is very poorly understood.

“Through the education program, we aim to break down this stigma and empower girls and women.”

Ms Maltby said the personal delivery by members allowed them to get feedback for improvements to the kits, which can last up to five years, and have undergone 27 alterations to the format used today.

A Ugandan school receiving Days for Girls kits previously recorded an absenteeism rate of 36 per cent, but after one year of the kits being distributed, this was reduced to 8 per cent.

At a school in Kenya, absences were reduced from 25 per cent to 3 per cent after female students received kits.

SI Joondalup will be raising funds for the kits at Ocean Keys Shopping Centre’s Spontaneous Styling workshops on Sunday, September 24, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

The workshops will highlight season trends and feature the styling skills of three bloggers who will put an outfit together on stage in three minutes.

All proceeds from the $5 tickets will be directed to SI Joondalup for fabric, washcloths and other items required for the kits. Book tickets via www.oceankeys.net.au or by calling 9407 2411.

For more on Days for Girls, visit www.daysforgirls.org or on Soroptimist International Joondalup, visit www.soroptimist-wa.org.au.

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