Elly Schreder, co-leader of the Helping Haiti Work sewing centers that construct the reusable menstrual kits, received a international Rotary grant for $168,127. This involved a two year grant application process and many hours of hard work. The funds will be used to purchase materials in large quantities, finish the construction of the CapHaitian sewing center, installation of solar panels, salary of a manager and shipping costs. We are hoping to make the center as sustainable as possible over the next 3-4 years. Elly is a member of the Brooklyn Center Rotary and made over 30 presentations to area Rotarys that agreed to support her grant application. Materials will be shipped this fall.
Our third Morpheus Benefit Concert was the best yet. New location at Medicine Lake Community Center held a record crowd of 130 movers and shakers. We had a dance floor that was well used as we enjoyed music from the 60’s and 70’s. Due to generous donors both before and during the event, we raised just over $9000 to fund more microloans for 2018 and continue to support our sewing center. A huge thank you to the members of Morpheus who have helped to support our cause for the past three years.
Our distribution building in Cap Haitian is slowly getting near completion. Elly Schreder was in Haiti this fall helping to complete a few large orders, deliver materials for new products and visit the local Haitian Rotary to provide information on our program. Although our sewing centers are located outside of Cap Haitian, in Limbe and Ranquitte, we are in need of a distribution site where completed reusable menstrual pad kits and diapers can be stored, materials for future kits collected, sewing machines repaired and customers pick up their orders. Our building front is located facing Highway One, the main highway that connects Cap Haitian to Port au Prince. Funds from Give to the Max Day will be used to complete the inside of our building as well as to create a sign outside advertising our presence. Consider Helping Haiti Work in your giving on November 16th.
Schedule your Give to the Max Day donation now at:
October 28th was National Make A Difference Day, one of the largest annual single days of service nationwide. Joining in the spirit of this day of giving, 37 women and girls showed up to help with the construction of over 100 reusable menstrual pad kits for distribution in Haitian schools in early 2018. We also cut flannel for 270 diapers that will be sewn by our Haitian seamstresses and die cut cotton that will be used to construct more of the menstrual pad kits for sale in Haiti.
We had a fabulous time listening to the Morpheus Band last weekend while also raising money for 2017 microloans and continued funding of the sewing programs. 125 people filled the Hamel Community Center enjoying tunes from Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Almost $6000 was raised that will help Haitian women expand their businesses.
Helping Haiti Work delivered 75 Minnesota made menstrual pad kits to SOIL, a Haitian organization that produces fertilizer from human waste. SOIL is working in the area of Haiti that was affected by Hurricane Matthew and was able to distribute the kits to those women in need.
Don’t forget our concert fundraiser on March 4th, featuring the band Morpheus. More info can be found on our homepage
EMPOWERING WOMEN. PERIOD.
All around the world, women and girls face a monthly reality: menstruation. Periods are often taboo, something shameful, to be hidden away and never mentioned. Certainly menstruation is often considered a women-only topic – we ask each other for help if we’re in a tight spot and have forgotten a pad or tampon, we talk in coded language about cramps, irritation, and other inconveniences we tend to bear in silence each month.
It is truly unfortunate that menstruation is still considered a shameful and unacceptable topic in most places. And for many women silence is just one of many challenges they face each month. In countries where access to clean sanitation facilities is already a struggle, having a steady supply of sanitary products can prove difficult, whether for availability or cost reasons. For those of us who have access to supplies it can be easy to overlook the importance of pads, tampons, Diva Cups, whatever we use for menstrual management. But consider what you would do if you couldn’t access those supplies during your monthly period. Would you be able to go to work or school? Leave the house to socialize? Likely not – or you would have to improvise a pad from something around your home, like a rag or old shirt, increasing your risk of infection and likely leaving you feeling vulnerable and insecure about leaving the house.
Luckily, periods are starting to gain attention around the world – whether women in the US and other countries are protesting the “pink tax” or women like Leslee Jaeger are working to develop local and sustainable solutions to provide women with safe, reusable menstrual management supplies. Recently, Leslee co-funded Helping Haiti Work to do just that: provide locally made and affordable menstruation kits and create an economic opportunity along the way. Helping Haiti Work now has two sewing centers around Cap Haitian where woman work to craft reusable sanitary pads and prepare “kits”, which contain a pair of underwear, washable and reusable sanitary pads made from cotton fabric, soap and a sealable bag to store used pads before washing. The kits are designed to look like a cute clutch bag, making them subtle enough to carry around.
After Hurricane Matthew devastated southern Haiti, Leslee and her partners at Helping Haiti Work decided they wanted to contribute to emergency response drives, and donated a large number of their menstrual kits to SOIL’s hurricane relief effort.
In December a friend of SOIL’s, local activist and community leader Rea Doll, distributed the kits in Darbouze, a community in southern Haiti that relies heavily on the tourism industry. The impact of Hurricane Matthew in this community will likely be long-lived, as the decrease in tourism means that many families are having to pull children from school to save money and also work to bring in additional income. In the face of these challenges, menstruation presents an even bigger issue for women.
Rea, in collaboration with a local organization called OJED, distributed kits to women throughout Darbouze. Additionally, Rea realized that the kits could provide an opportunity to create jobs in Port-au-Prince and southern Haiti by replicating the work Helping Haiti Work has done in northern Haiti. Rea will be working with Leslee and her partners to further explore the possibility of opening a sewing center in Port-au-Prince (where Rea has space in the school she runs), and distributing kits throughout southern Haiti.
At SOIL, we were honored to be of assistance in connecting Helping Haiti Work’s generous donation to Rea and OJED, and we are so excited to see sustainable and entrepreneurial solutions like Leslee’s growing through new connections and opportunities to serve an ever increasing number of women.
Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hamel Community Center, 3200 Mill St, Medina, MN 55340
You are invited to a concert featuring the band, Morpheus! Rock to music by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steppenwolf, Santana, Chicago, The Eagles, The Doors and others as the 12-member group performs hits from some of music’s greatest bands.
Admission: $15 in advance. Use this ticket link to make your tax-deductible donation through GiveMN. Refreshments will be available; wine/beer for a $5 cash donation at the event. Bring your friends!
Hamel/Medina Community Center just off Hamel Rd, a half mile west of Hwy MN-55 and Old Rockford Rd. (NOT Medina Ballroom but the Community Center at 3200 Mill Street, Hamel, MN 55340).
While many of my friends were participating in the Women’s March on Saturday, I was proud to be working with a group of seamstresses who were busy demonstrating the power of globalization and how it can be used to benefit others. 30 women and 1 man showed up to construct reusable menstrual pads for distribution to school girls in Haiti, as well as prepping fabric for our Haitian seamstresses to construct the same kits and earn a livable wage. We were our own march for the equality of women throughout the world, signifying that Women’s rights are Human rights. Helping others less fortunate causes all of us to rise; attempting to divide women by country, sexual orientation or race will only make us more resolute and determined.