Local women lend hands to help girls
Twenty-two women from the Quincy and George communities recently met to make a difference in the lives of girls in Third World countries by working in support of Days for Girls.
They met Oct. 28 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building in Quincy to create soft, reusable, handmade feminine hygiene kits.
Days for Girls, or DfG, was started in 2008 to help girls stay in school and has become an international organization, reaching 800,000 women and girls in 100-plus countries. This means more than 115 million days of education and opportunity that would have been lost without the sustainable hygiene solution DfG provides, according to the organization’s website.
The goal of DfG is that “every girl or woman has ready access to washable feminine hygiene by the year 2024.” On its website, the organization says it is “dedicated to creating a more free, dignified, and educated world, through providing lasting access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education.”
Locally, Mandy Ottley and Ann Downs, two passionate sewers from the Quincy area, have been working together on this project for several months. Ottley went looking for volunteers to help in the effort and found several, but said, “We want to continue the project, meet(ing) somewhere in Quincy once a month to put these kits together to help girls around the world.”
Fabric donations have been plentiful; it is willing hands that are needed to help put these kits together. She said in a text, “Sewing is helpful, but we need people to pin, cut and trim and iron! If they want to bring a sewing machine, serger, and/or sewing supplies – they would be utilized!”
Girls reaching puberty in some countries lack available feminine products. When an assistant orphanage director in Kenya was asked what the girls did for feminine hygiene, the reply was, “Nothing. They wait in their rooms.” Girls did not attend school or even leave their homes; they were considered unclean, according to daysforgirls.org.
Disposable products were first donated to girls and women in Third World countries until disposal presented a problem in areas of the world that lack sanitation. A new plan was devised to create something washable and long-lasting: a kit that uses very little water, dries quickly, saves money over disposables and is comfortable to wear.
For more information on how to get involved locally, contact Mandy Ottley at 760-1272 or go to JustServe.org. To learn more about the international organization, go to www.daysforgirls.org.
By Janet Lybbert, QVPR contributor