Girl Child Students get WfZ tailor-made sanitary pads
It is Saturday 25th of March 2023 here at Wells for Zoë where 107 smiling, excited, girls eager to learn, have come for extra tuition at the Saturday School. For those students living within about 30km radius we hold classes each Saturday and during school holiday breaks. We collect them, feed them, with 7 excellent teachers and a qualified counsellor, these girls are given the opportunity to achieve their dreams. All of this has been co-ordinated by Florence Harawa since 2015. Florence is key to running the Wells for Zoë Girl Child Student project where she is responsible for organising the supporting Saturday Classes and meeting students and families that are funded by WfZ. We will have 265 girls this year and Florence will know them all and all their circumstances.
Today will be a particularly exciting day where 428 reusable sanitary pads are gifted to each girl who will receive 2 sets each. Wow, such Luxury! Of course this is considered a normal necessity in the western world, but here in Malawi where for a young woman, their first period means scavenging for some spare cloth, clean paper or anything to create something that resembles a sanitary pad. Girls are forced to miss many days of school when they have their period – or even drop out of school altogether, due to embarrassment and lack of any sanitary products. This denies girls their right to an education, and often shapes the rest of their future.
The inability of women and girls to access sanitary products has led to an increase in infection, disease, and a lack of education among women in developing countries. These reusable sanitary pads have been made by our girls who did not do well academically. We have four old refurbished Singer Sewing machines, foot operated. This project has gone from strength to strength. We have three amazing girls who have embraced their new tailoring skills and teach others, and two new trainees; it is truly wonderful to see. Mercy receives these teaching tutorials, to teach the other girls and keeps an inventory of materials, repairs of machines and quantity made. Of course this feeds into the belief here at WfZ to give those the skills to help themselves, while at the same time empowering women and girls to achieve their dream of a better future.
The girls arrived, attended class under the warmth of a Saturday morning in March, for lunch they enjoy a meal of nsima, relish and usipa (small fish). They gathered round, Mercy taught the girls how to use these pads, received their gift of 2 sets of pads from Florence and the tailoring team. The joy that can be seen on the faces is infectious. There was much singing and dancing. Wow, what a great day for all. The girls are thrilled; the Tailoring team feel a great sense of achievement; a win, win situation for all.
We would like to acknowledge the generosity of Rosie at www.rosiesecostore.com for her great contribution. She was instrumental in imparting the knowledge of how to make these pads to a very high quality standard. She made a full length video, explaining how to make a pattern, how to cut out pad parts, how to assemble and finish.
Rosie, thank you for helping us to help our girls learn this knowledge and teach their peers. This pebble of knowledge you dropped, is having a profound ripple effect.