Days For Girls
On Saturday mornings at the Zion Lutheran Church a wonderful operation called DAYS FOR GIRLS unfolds.
Under the leadership of Gabi Doleske , a Professor of English and Global Citizenship at Sault College, a group of volunteer women meet to create and produce sustainable feminine hygiene kits.
When I met with Gabi on a recent Saturday I was amazed how efficiently she organized the distribution of large number of material boxes for the workers to start sewing and sorting.
Gabi and her group of 30 to 40 volunteers started under the auspices of Zonta, an International Women’s Advocacy Group.
Initially materials were prepared and forwarded to a Zonta centre for finishing the kits. Materials are screened to avoid conflict with local customs.
In 2014 DAYS FOR GIRLS started producing the kits entirely in the Sault.
The feminine hygiene kits are in a cotton bag, which contains
- 2 waterproof shields which attach to a panty
- 12 flannel liners
- 1 bar of travel soap
- 2 large re-sealable ziplock bags
- 1 washcloth
- 2 pair panties
- Visual instructions
Gabi explained that the impact of these kits on girl’s lives is outstanding.
For example the kits allow the girls to go to school during their period, improving their lives. They marry later in life and have fewer children. Their family life is improved and they experience less sexual assaults just from wearing underwear.
Without the kits the girls miss school and marry earlier. There is also a significant increase in sexual violence.
Amazingly, DAYS FOR GIRLS have produced and distributed 1325 kits. Some of the countries include Nicaragua, Cuba, Tanzania, Kenya, Nepal, Lebanon, Nigeria, Ecuador, Guatemala, Malawi, and Syria.
In order to avoid customs officials confiscating the kits and elucidating favours from girls, the kits are hand delivered through visiting groups or individuals. Sault College students on edu-service missions distributed the kits in Nicaragua and Tanzania.
Some of the volunteers include,
- Sault College students in the Hairstyling and Esthetician programs who receive 40% of their grade for their volunteering efforts.
- Numerous volunteers with in the city that prepare material and do sewing from their homes and deliver the material to the church.
Materials are all consumed, either by the feminine kits or in leftovers that are used for such things, as pet bags for use by TAAG or The Humane Society. Soft colored materials are sent to Zonta for use in breast pillows for women who have experienced breast surgery.
DAYS FOR GIRLS collaboration with Sault College is very beneficial however as a 100% volunteer organization they are heavily dependent upon donations as well as volunteers.
Financial donations are tax deductible.
Material donations required are good cotton, cotton/polyester, and dark pattered flannel.
Volunteers for producing the kits are needed to trace, cut, pin, sew, flip, insert, twill, package, etc. No experience necessary.
For more information and videos visit www.daysforgirls.org