“After distributing the kits to the girls at club, there was a hush over the room as they looked at all the special care that had been put into each kit. I think they truly felt cared for and loved!” writes TeachBeyond member Carmen Gunderson of the impact of the new partnership between Days for Girls Club at Hosanna Church in Niamey, Niger and Treasured and Protected in Colorado, USA.
Treasured and Protected is a non-profit organization that provides washable feminine hygiene kits to girls in the developing world. The group is made up entirely of volunteers, including TeachBeyond alumna, Pam Sanderlin in Buena Vista, Colorado. These volunteers sew the pads, pack the kits and send them to schools around the world. “We want to enable the girls to go to school confidently during their periods,” says Kathy Ruiter, Director of Treasured and Protected. This past September kits were received by TeachBeyond in Niger.
At the Days for Girls Club the girls learn about their health and how to take care of their changing bodies. In the developing world many girls have to stay home several days a month, as they cannot access supplies that would absorb the blood flow and keep the girls’ and their clothes clean and dry. Frequently missing school causes them to fall behind in their schoolwork. It’s not as easy as going to a drug store, choosing what you need and then being all set. The further the girls fall behind at school, the more likely they are to drop out completely as family pressure increases to earn any kind of income or marry.
A UNICEF report notes that, “every additional year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 – 20 per cent, and an extra year of secondary school by 15 – 25 per cent.” (1)
The kits from Treasured and Protected have been well thought out to meet the needs of young girls in developing countries. The cotton flannel pads can be dried in the sun and the kits include a small mesh bag with soap and ziplock bags to carry home used or pre-soaked pads. The bags are small and discreet.
“These kits were distributed after the girls had gone through the Days for Girls health curriculum,” Gunderson explained. They are also taught from Genesis how God created them as well as how to live as young women who follow Jesus. “The girls are learning how God has specifically made them for his beautiful plan.” The kits are a way to enable them to continue their education for as long as possible.
- https://www.unicef.org/media/media_58417.html (May 4, 2011 Unicef Press Release)