Mission 20:20 Restoring Dignity
When you empower a girl, you empower a community
District 20’s Mission 20:20 was initiated to provide sustainable sanitary wear to disaster areas where, when a female has lost everything in an earthquake, flood, tempest or being made homeless in some other way, at least she can retain some dignity when the natural bodily function of a period occurs.
In several countries, girls have to stop their education for about a week a month, some are even put into purdah and many cease education all together from puberty. The problems surrounding the different types of protection are also various but primarily are dictated by the cultures of the areas/society receiving the emergency supplies. This lead to research into silicone cups, pads and other suitable sustainable products. Then there was the matter of getting the supplies to where they were needed.
All these problems were overcome!
A pattern for resuable pads was issued to members and a sewing group from Frome Church also make them for us – these are all put into the Water Survival Boxes and sent out to disaster areas through them.
School in a Bag was also approached but as the bags go to both sexes it was not considered appropriate to put them in there. However, Hannah, who worked at School in a Bag (SiaB), went out to work on the ground in Nepal and found a local sustainable group already making pads in Kathmandu and who would supply them through SiaB. This helps the local people with employment and the local economy and of course, saves shipment costs from the UK.
This came from Hannnah……………
So lovely to wake up to your email on a sunny Sunday morning here in Nepal. The distribution went really well on Friday. With a lot of help from Saru, the admin assistant at HELP, we distributed around 40 pads to girls in grades 7-10. The girls were understandably shy but Saru explained what the products were and it was great to see them take the pads and zipping them instantly into their new SchoolBags. I've attached some pictures - it was quite difficult getting them because of how quickly the girls scurried away, hopefully at future distributions I can get some better shots.
We were also lucky to be joined by a female Nepali politician who gave a long speech on female empowerment. She was very impressed with the programme and hopefully we'll have her support if we do anymore!
As Luke (SiaB) said I'm so impressed by Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop and really admire the amount that Claire Lin and her team are doing to provide lasting change for women and girls in rural areas of Nepal. It's a great organisation for Inner Wheel and School in a Bag to be associated with, they seem to have all their morals in the right place. They are even committed to a zero waste pledge - the sewing machines which the women use are non-electric and operated with a foot pedal, and all of the off-cuts from the sanitary pads are recycled to make other products such as oven mitts.