For millions of girls across the world, reaching puberty and beginning their monthly periods can quickly become a barrier to enjoying their normal activities, such as going to school and spending time with friends.
Days for Girls is an international organisation that provides feminine hygiene solutions and health education. To date, it has reached over 640,000 women and girls in over 100 countries.
Over the past year, YWAM Medical Ships has incorporated Days for Girls kits into its community engagement program, which runs alongside all primary health care clinics.
The Days for Girls kits are sanitary packs that are designed for use in rural areas. The kits last up to three years and include waterproof shields, liners, soap, and other items used for basic hygiene. The provision of these kits can be life changing for the women and girls who receive them as they eliminate some practical barriers to full participation in community life.
Erin Ford was recently on board the MV YWAM PNG as the community engagement team leader and is passionate about this program. ‘Days for Girls is such a vital necessity for young girls entering puberty and throughout womanhood. Most women use cloth. I recall one young girl state that she finds it uncomfortable to do sports as the cloth moves around. Other young women may not go to school due to not having adequate protection. So the impact of having Days for Girls kits for each village is huge’ said Erin.
When YWAM Medical Ships’ teams distribute these packs, trained volunteers also facilitate culturally sensitive education sessions on related topics. These sessions are a unique opportunity for girls and women of all ages to come together to share and learn from one another. On occasions, the group includes three generations of the one family.
Whilst on outreach in Central Province earlier this year, the community engagement team had enough resources to provide around ten kits in each village. The team noticed that some women had sewing machines and recognised this as an opportunity to empower and build the capacity of the communities. In one village, a local home-economics teacher was provided with the pattern, equipping her and her students to make kits for themselves. Not only that- their skills can be used to help their family members and others in the community, contributing to sustainable solutions and reducing inequality.
‘In the past year, our teams have been able to give out over 1,000 of these kits in remote PNG communities. We are so grateful to the people who’s donations have made this possible’ said Erin.
More Days for Girls kits are needed for YWAM Medical Ships upcoming outreaches, consider getting involved by sewing the kits following the simple Days for Girls pattern. For more information, contact YWAM Medical Ships:
YWAM Medical Ships
Young Girls in Tewae Siassi District, Morobe Province, with their Days for Girls Kits