KEEP GIRLS IN SCHOOL. PERIOD.
Last month, as part of my mission to stay engaged with pressing issues, I was very excited and honored to get to work with the women's bible study group at my mom's church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, on a feminine pad sewing project. These great ladies dedicated a Saturday morning to cutting, pinning, and sewing over 50 reusable pads that I will be delivering to women leaders in Malawi through my work with the non-profit Malawi Matters. These women will then give the pads to girls in their community in need, girls who could otherwise not afford to purchase a similar item.
WHY IT MATTERS
In Malawi today, the majority of girls will miss between 3-5 days of school EVERY month due to periods, whether it's pain from period cramps, fear of bleeding through onto an expensive school uniform, or worry about friends at school finding out. If you do the math, that means that girls are missing almost a week of school every month. If we assume each month has four weeks, that means girls who begin menstruating will miss 25 percent of the school year due to periods! 25 percent!! And that is just a base amount--at MINIMUM the average Malawian girl can expect to miss a quarter of her schooling once she begins menstruating. She will miss even more school for things like ailing caretakers or siblings, deaths in the family, harvest season, etcetera. When we add up all these missed days, how many days will a girl actually spend in school??
With the gift of a reusable pad, a Malawian girl has more options. She can go to school without fear of soiling her uniform. She can better hide her period from others. She can save her hard-earned money by not purchasing expensive, imported feminine products. Access to feminine products is literally the difference between education and no education for so many girls in Malawi and beyond!
Thank you, Good Shepherd Lutheran Ladies, for your hard work!! I will be updating this story in the months ahead when I am able to share updates from the women who take the pads and deliver then to girls in their communities. Stay tuned!