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Our sewing Sandy and sanny pads!

I had grand ideas of sowing machines and the likes – when sometimes it only takes an outside pair of eyes (that are less emotionally engrossed in all things Wells for Zoë) to see that there was a simpler way.

I’m talking about reusable sanitary pads. I’m talking about keeping girls in school through reusable sanitary pads. I’m talking about providing our girls (and beyond) with something to lessen the embarrassment and shame they feel because of the cultural taboo surrounding their periods.

It has been well reported by many organisations that many girls in in Malawi miss up to a week of school per month because of menstruation. They feel, or are made to feel, dirty. They can be ridiculed, sent to the bush instead of the toilet and in one case, I heard a story from one girl who was made eat outside during her time of the month. With little to no affordable or appropriate means of sanitation for these girls during menstruation, they often resort to extreme measures – using materials that can cause rashes or infection, or just no means of sanitation at all.

One of our latest couple of volunteers, Sandy and Áine, hit the ground running and said to me why don’t we just show the girls how to make the reusable sanitary pads themselves – no need for sowing machines! They took on this project, sourced the material locally, found a Malawian template for the design and have set about giving classes on how to sow them to our girls who attend tuition on Saturdays. The sanitary pads are not only affordable at less than 1 euro per pad that can be reused time and time again – but completely fashionable for these teenage girls made from locally bought Chitenje!

More posts on this to follow!

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