First, we sent our last package of pads to the Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation. Last summer I started sending pads and pledged to send over 100. I sent several each month and just came back from sending a very large package with the rest of my pads. It was extremely expensive to ship the packages but there was some help from very kind helpers with monetary and sewing help and it is a wonderful cause that is right up my alley!
The Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation (www.luyodefo.org) is a non-profit, community based, non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides support to marginalized communities across the Kasese district of western Uganda. In developing countries, the issues regarding menstruation and lack of access to sanitary products are often kept silent and what should be a right of passage into womanhood is often a gateway to dropping out of school. Menstruation is a silent issue; half of adolescent girls consider it a disease and don't know how to deal with it. Most girls/ women are unable to afford sanitary napkins. The lack of feminine products and information lead to girls dropping out of school early as they have no opportunities to maintain their hygiene during menstrual periods, miss lessons and fall behind. Most often, girls face the embarrassment of blood leaking through their clothes (spotting). This lack of protection leads most girls to miss up to five days of school monthly. That is a lot of days over the course of a school year, 6 weeks!
The pad project is not just about raising attendance. It is about raising the profile of girls at home, at school, and in the community. It is about teaching them to advocate for themselves. It is about telling them to be proud, and that they have the right to be healthy and educated. The implications of this are significant. Today’s young girls will teach the next generation about puberty, sexuality, and reproductive health. The conspiracy of silence will have been broken. Through this project helping girls feel empowered, we really can create social change. Girls who feel empowered are going to ask questions and push to get their questions answered. They’re going to understand what’s happening to their bodies, and be able to make informed decisions that keep them healthy and safe.
The second thing we did was talk about the things we do in our home that help the earth. We don't use any paper products in the kitchen. We use hankies instead of kleenex. We don't litter, we rarely use a car. There are many other things, but they have become a part of our daily life and just feel normal. They don't feel like anything special, but everything helps keep our earth the way God meant it to be!