Hope Global Blog

Changing lives through a simple Kit

The HOPE Team - Tuesday, October 04, 2016

"Sunday morning arose and this meant the boys going to church and the girls doing the community training with the Days for Girls Kits. The DFG Kits are washable and sustainable feminine hygiene kits. In most lesser developed countries (LCD's), most women do not have the finance to purchase feminine hygiene products and sanitation is poor. The DFG Kits provide an alternative and helps to lessen the stigma around menstruation. In most LCD's, when a girl gets her period, she is ashamed to go to school. If she misses 5 days of school because of her period, that amounts to 60 days across a 12 months. The girl then falls behind in her education and in most cases, she will drop out from school because she is so far behind in her education. This impacts on her future employment prospects and she may even marry earlier than she needs to.

DFG Kits are handmade and lovingly made by a team of volunteers in Australia. Each kit is made from beautiful cottons and flannelette and is all placed in a lovely handmade drawstring bag that could easily be mistaken for a bookbag when the girl carries it to school. As the DFG bag looks normal and not out of place, the stigma of the girl having her period is lessened. She can then attend school without feeling ashamed and embarrassed about a perfectly normal bodily function.

The women of the community arrived for their training. We had 44 women turn up for the training and we were expecting 40! We ran out of manuals and certificates - not a bad problem to have. You have to understand that this is the last weekend of second largest holiday in the Cambodian year - Pchum Ben, a significant Buddhist celebration. On this weekend, people are encouraged to return to their home village to pay respect to the dead. We were expecting our numbers for the training to down due to this. To have our numbers exceed what we had planned for, is a God thing!

The women were welcomed with a smile and a conference bag containing a flower pen and the DFG manual. Most of these women had never been honoured in this way before. Once all women had arrived, we ask them to come forward and choose a kit for themselves. Most were choosing kits that colour coordinated with what they were wearing. Seeing their eyes light up as they opened their bags was wonderful to see. We then showed them how to put the kits together and explained how to their kits. The women were full of questions asking where they could buy more kits and how they could make more kits. What an awesome idea for a micro enterprise in their own communities.

We then lead some training on reproductive health. With an all female environment, the Khmer women felt comfortable to ask their questions. We had lots of laughs during the training and overall, the mood was a relaxed and fun one. Finally, the most important part of the training occurred - honouring these women with a participation certificate. Most of these women are women from the community who have very little education and have never received a certificate before. Once again, their joy at receiving something as simple as a certificate makes all of our hard work worth it.

This is what we do as an organisation - Hope Global - strengthening communities by coming along side, shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart. " - Amanda, Cambodia Team Leader