The organization aims to promote the general societal understanding of menstruation and the problems it causes, especially to teenage girls in the 3rd world.
We are currently working to raise the self-esteem of menstruating school girls in Kenya by sewing and donating reusable pads, talking to- and teaching them about all the taboo-covered topics that no one else teaches them, such as sex education, HIV/AIDS, FGM, and how to avoid teen pregnancies, so they remain in school and complete their education.
As a woman in the Western world, having your period is mostly really annoying, but rarely an obstacle for going to school and getting an education. To imagine growing up in a world where menstruation is a taboo that nobody talks about, and at the same time making the girls feel ashamed and humiliated, will make most of us get defensive.
This has resulted in a huge support for our project, with a desire to help sewing and donate pads from women from all parts of Denmark. With this organization we hope to get many more from all over the world to help us, so that we can help even more girls in Kenya to finish their education.
You can read more about all our projects on this site.
If you feel the need to help make a difference, there are a number of ways you can join the organization:
There are currently 400 women helping me to sew reusable pads to donate to school girls in Kenya.
They contribute with both material and time, and without them this project would not be possible. I have currently donated over 1200 pads and made life a little easier for more than 250 girls in the slums.
Most people live for less than $ 1 a day in the slums, so when a girl is menstruating, there is no way that she can afford to buy a package of pads, since these cost mostly more than $1. Therefore, most women use old blankets, old clothes or any fabrics that they can find. Sometimes they are lucky to get a packet of pads donated by a local NGOs. But these are never enough to keep them safe throughout their menstruation. They often wear the same pad the whole day, so it starts to smell. Therefore, the boys can "smell" when a girl has her period, and tease and mock the girls. Because of this, many choose to stay home from school or completely drop out.
If you love to sew and want to make a difference for girls in the third world, join our sewing group on Facebook. Here you can find patterns and get ideas. You don’t need any experience, since skills are quickly mastered through practice, and you can always get help in the group.
Although we mainly sew and donate reusable pads for the school girls, I think the best solution for the young women in Kenya and in any other African country is to use a menstrual cup. Unfortunately, the price of a cup is so high that it is unattainable for the majority of women in Africa.
We work hard to find a solution or a partner who will donate cups to these women, but until we succeed, it has been the women in our sewing group who have donated funds for menstrual cups.
So far we have successfully donated over 200 cups to young mothers, both in slums and remote villages. It may not sound like much, but for these women it has made a world of difference.
We have managed to find solutions to all the challenges that the women encountered with the use of the cups, such as toilet conditions, lack of water and pots to clean them in. I always follow up and have a contact person who is experienced in using the menstrual cup.
When I donate reusable pads to the school girls, I always follow up with detailed sex education.
In Kenya, everything is taboo and no one talks to children about anatomy, sex or menstruation.
Therefore, when a girl gets her period for the first time, she often believes that she is sick or even dying. I teach the girls about hygiene and the menstrual cycle, how to get pregnant and how to avoid it. I do not preach "no sex before marriage", as it is not a viable option.
The Kilifi area north of Mombasa, 3624 girls were reported as pregnant while taking their exam in 2018.
I teach them how vulnerable they are if they have sex without a condom, as most of the new cases of AIDS / HIV are young girls are from unprotected sex. I tell them how and where to turn to if they have been subjected to rape. A staggering 33% of the girls in Kenya will experience rape before the age of 18. These worrying numbers is an indication that women's rights do not exist in large parts of Africa.
The latest project I have involved myself in, is FGM or Female Genital Mutilation. Of all the things I have come across in Kenya, this is probably the one that has shaken me up the most, and I felt that I had to fight for the girls. Kenya made it illegal as early as 2011, and yet the practice continues unabated. The areas and tribes that still practice it are not very educated. They are superstitious and live far from larger and more modern cities. On average, 21% of the women between the ages of 15 and 49 are circumcised, but in the rural areas in the far northeast, almost 100% are circumcised. Here they practice the worst form of FGM, where everything is cut off and subsequently sewn together, with only a small hole the size of a pencil left behind in order to urinate and menstruate.
Among the Maasai women, is practiced type 2, where you cut the clitoris and the inner labia off. It takes place completely without anesthesia and without stitching afterwards. Every year, girls as young as 8 years old are exposed to these abuses, with girls going into shock or bleeding to death.
I'm going to work with a local Maasai woman on that project. She is as least as passions as I am, and I can't wait to get started.
My first attempt to teach some orphans school girls, how to sew their own reuable pads to keep theme in schoole duing their period.
Soweto Youth Initiative is the organization it all started with. It's located in a small slum outside Nairobi. Here can even $1 help!
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