It’s been almost a year since our Little Dresses for Africa project, and it’s time to start sewing for charity again!
This GFWC New Tampa Junior Woman’s Club will be conducting a project in support of Days for Girls (DFG).
Days For Girls
Empower girls and women worldwide with more dignity, health and safety through quality sustainable menstrual management. Every woman by 2022.
DFG is a non-profit organization that started in 2008 after the founders learned about the number of girls going without feminine hygiene products. In many impoverished areas of the world, maxi pads and tampons either don’t exist or are too expensive for families to afford. Without this type of protection, girls are forced to stay home during the days of their period. Many will use anything they can – leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks, rocks – for the chance to go to school, work, or to continue gathering food and water for their family. Yet this is frequently ineffective and leads to infection. In total they miss up to three months of life a year, which causes loss of income and greatly increases their chance of dropping out of school.
Fortunately a simple and efficient solution exists in maxi pads that are washable and re-useable for up to three years. Now I’m sure many of you are thinking EWWWW, a single maxi pad that you re-use for three years?!? Yet the DFG maxi pad kit is truly hygienic and a much better alternative than infection and losing days of your life. Furthermore, every kit is delivered with education about reproductive health, sanitation, and self-defense. Now you might also be wondering, why wouldn’t they just send disposables? Since many impoverished areas lack an adequate sanitation system, there’s literally nowhere to put trash. When DFG representatives arrive at villages they frequently see evidence of this via used tampons and pads stuffed in fencing, behind buildings, and in piles on the side of the road. The re-useable kit is truly a life-changing solution for both the women and the community.
Now that you understand the issue, I hope you’ll be on board with creating the solution! And the best part?!? It’s soooo easy to help! DFG operates through volunteers who create and donate kits. A hygiene kit consists of the following:
- 1 visual instruction sheet (as a reminder for how to use the kit)
- 1 bar of soap
- 1 pair of panties
- 1 wash cloth
- 2 gallon sized Ziploc bags (for transporting soiled items and soaking/laundering items with very little water)
- 8 hand sewn tri-fold pads (soft flannel liners are super absorbent when folded in three and can be layered for extra coverage)
- 2 hand sewn moisture barrier shields (to hold liners in place)
- 1 hand sewn drawstring bag (to carry all kit contents)
The GFWC New Tampa Junior Woman’s club has purchased enough of the first 5 items above to make 100 kits! We’ve also partnered with the GFWC Lutz Woman’s Club who are making 100 drawstring bags – YAY!
How Can I Help?
Now’s where you come in! I’m hoping you’ll be interested in making one or more tri-fold pads and/or moisture barrier shields. My goal is 800 pads and 200 shields so that they can be added to what has already been collected and then assembled by clubwomen into fully completed kits. I’ll then mail them to the Days for Girls headquarters for distribution.
If you are interested in participating, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com letting me know approximately how many pads and/or shields you plan to make. At the bottom of this article are links with sewing instructions. As a BONUS, for every pad and/or shied sent in, you’ll be entered into a drawing for an official DFG necklace! So the more you send in, the greater your chances of winning! A photo and details about the necklace can be found here. Also, all donations are tax deductible and I’d be happy to provide you with a receipt.
I’m asking that all pads and shields be mailed to me (contact me for address).
If for whatever reason now isn’t a good time or if you’d rather contribute by giving directly to Days for Girls, that is no problem. More than anything I just want to get the word out about this fabulous way to literally give days of life to young girls across the world. It doesn’t matter if you do this by supporting my clubs efforts or on your own… as long as the end result is helping the girls in need.
Thanks in advance for your consideration and please feel free to contact me with any questions!
GFWC New Tampa Junior Woman’s Club
NOTE: Set your printer to FULL size printing, then measure 1 inch square on pattern to confirm that the pattern has printed full size. This pattern is the rough draft of a very proven pattern. The shields are made of a soft quality woven cotton. The girls love color, so any color solid or colorful pattern in cotton will do. PUL Moisture Barrier for shields can be purchased at JoAnn’s or Fabric.com. You can also buy PUL directly from Days for Girls at $5 a yard plus shipping by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Days for Girls uses KamSnaps size 20 (www.kamsnaps.com) for hygiene, comfort, and longevity, however you don’t need to have snap capacity in order to make a shield. Please just send them with a note stating that they don’t contain snaps, and I’ll be sure and leave them out of the kits so that snaps can be added when they reach the Days for Girls headquarters. This is evidently fairly common and they have several volunteers that solely work on snaps. (PDF)
The liners are made of absorbent flannel. Not all flannels are made alike. Purchase the highest quality flannel you can. It should be tightly woven. Be aware, all flannel shrinks 3-6%. Wash & dry fabrics before you start. The girls love color, so any color solid or colorful pattern in flannel will do. (PDF)