This year’s theme is Equal for Each, meaning an equal world is an enabled world. Helping Haiti Work is seeking to change the inbalance, one girl and woman at a time. By providing both reproductive and menstrual health education, we give girls the tools to better care for their bodies. Supplying them with a menstrual kit that lasts for three years gives them the opportunity to attend school without stigmatization and focus on their studies. Our seamstresses that make the kits, as well as our educators, are being provided with a living wage so that they can better support themselves and their families while also building their self-esteem and standing within the community. This is how we are taking action for equality.
Education and knowledge create a girl force that’s unstoppable. That’s why in addition to distributing washable pads, @daysforgirls focuses on health education. This education is the key 🔑 to creating long-lasting, sustainable change in communities. #IDG2019
Educating girls is one of the least expensive and most effective tools to reduce infant and maternal mortality while improving the socioeconomic growth of a community.
Menstruation is not a woman’s issue. It is a human rights issue.
This article exemplifies how women in Haiti share the same struggles with other women in resource poor countries. HHW is trying to change menstrual hygiene practices thru education and making cloth menstrual pad kits available for young women.
Menstrual Health Equality is becoming a buzzword in world health. If you want a better idea of what this means, view the Oscar winning film “Period. End of Sentence” The full length 30 minute film is on Netflix. This is what HHW is trying to accomplish with our sewing program that pays Haitian women to construct reusable menstrual pad kits that are distributed to the areas in which they live and work.
As word of our Days for Girls reusable menstrual pad program has spread, we have received more and more requests for our seamstresses to supply both education and menstrual pad kits to young girls. Our program is located in CapHaitian but many of the requests come from farther afield. The logistics of arranging transportation for the seamstress and the kits can be daunting, especially in Haiti when vehicles break down regularly or protests block traffic for hours. Despite these barriers, one of our seamstresses made it to Port au Prince in September and distributed kits to 25 girls at the Center for the Arts, a program that empowers adolescent girls in the arts. The girls were asked to give an honest critique of the presentation so that we are able to improve. Following are some of their comments:
“I was so happy to learn about menstrual cycle how to control that so you don’t get pregnant”
“I had a great moment because I learned from the questions that the other girls asked and also hope that the team Days for Girls will come back so we can learn more. I will take what I learned and share with my classmates.”
“I learn the technique to use the fabric pads and the importance of using it. I am so happy to have one so I will show to friends and see what they think about that idea of saving money”
Reading these comments made us realize how valuable education can be and that the difficulty encountered in transportation is minimal compared to the benefits that is passed on not only to the girls in attendance, but also to their friends.
Thursday, November 15th is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota. A contribution to Helping Haiti Work will provide a menstrual kit to a young woman and education about her body as well as a living wage to our seamstresses.
Days for Girls, the organization that has provided us with the concept of the reusable menstrual pad kits as well as organizational help, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. As part of the celebration, they have committed to distributing 100,000 kits worldwide during the month of October. Our seamstresses at Helping Haiti Work have added the construction of an additional 150 kits to their daily workload so that we can participate in the celebration. The first 50 kits were distributed last week by the midwives of Mama Baby Haiti. Another 100 kits will be distributed next week when the midwives travel to maternity clinics in the surrounding communities. We have been amazed at the outpouring of support that we are receiving – both from our volunteers here in the US pre-cutting the kits and the mission teams that commit to fundraising in order to purchase and distribute the kits in Haiti. Working together we are able to achieve much more than separately.
Helping Haiti Work and Days for Girls International (DfGI) is preparing for a global celebration of girls and menstruation, coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2018. Over the course of just 28 days, DfGI is set to reach 100,000 women and girls in 24 countries and 5 continents with menstrual health solutions. As part of this initiative, Helping Haiti Work will be distributing 150 menstrual pad kits in impoverished areas of Cap Haitian.
At least 500 million women and girls around the world lack access to adequate resources for managing menstruation, often leaving them susceptible to forced school dropout rates, poverty, early childhood marriage, and sexual exploitation. This international celebration will work to bring the solutions needed to ensure the health, safety, and opportunity for all.
Days for Girls not only provides affordable, sustainable menstrual health solutions to women and girls worldwide, but also works to inspire communities to shatter the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation, empowering women to pursue educational, economic and leadership opportunities. We strive to contribute to the global solutions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, health, and conservation. This global girls festival celebrates giving back more days to girls—more days to gain a better education and improved health while restoring hope and dignity.
This movie, which opened this weekend at area theaters, is about a newly married Indian man who soon realized the plight of many women when they needed to choose between sanitary supplies and food. He became obsessed with producing low cost disposable pads and during his journey ended up creating jobs for women as they produced the pads that he developed. Check it out. He also has a TED talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/arunachalam_muruganantham_how_i_started_a_sanitary_napkin_revolution