Back in October we received a donation request from Project Thrive, an organization that has been working hard to provide girls and women all over Africa with washable pads through their Days for Girls program. As you may recall, Lunapads helped out in getting The Days for Girls project started and we have been overjoyed to watch it grow over the years since. They accept donations of commercial and home-sewn cloth pads and other supplies to create "Hygiene Kits" for the girls. We were happy to offer them 35 pairs of Luna Undies and 500 Liner Inserts to help them meet their goal for the latest distribution.
Celeste from Project Thrive sent us the following story of how the distribution of the Kits in one community opened the door to discussion around FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and ultimately led to the abandonment of the practice.
Dear Lunapads Team,
Just a quick word of thanks for your recent contribution to Days For Girls. We had a very large goal to obtain and thanks to you, we reached it! The distributions were phenomenal. We passed out hundreds during a near monsoon. As usual, when they heard what we were there to distribute the cheers were deafening, far beyond the pelleting rain on the metal roof. We saw them welcomed gratefully to several health clinics.
Perhaps the most powerful demonstration of gratitude I have ever "heard" was at a deaf school.The girls there watched the signing translator introduce each of the team and at each introduction they signed "hello" and then raised their hands with waving fingers, a sign we were told represented a cheer. But when they were told that we brought washable feminine hygiene, their eyes widened and eyebrows raised as if in orchestrated union. Then their arms shot as high as they could wave them and their fingers waved with such enthusiasm, but there was no sound except groans of excitement. It was the most powerful evidence of the joy these kits bring that I have ever witnessed. And YOU helped make it possible.
While there we were also invited to discuss FGM. We hoped to have some impact as we had learned that 90% of the population in the area participate in FGM so we came prepared with a unique presentation. We commended their practice to honor their young girls becoming women and asked them to make a new decision and NOT include cutting in the rite because "Kenyan women are powerful naturally." We introduced purple ribbons representing making a new choice to honor that they are beautiful naturally. Several days later their top six FGM cutters came to us and declared that they were laying down their knives for good, for their daughters. We later had the opportunity to introduce the campaign at an arena with thousands of people present.
The places Days For Girls kits go... the lives they change... and the doors that open when they arrive, never cease to amaze us. Thank you for being part of it from the very beginning.
With Warm Regards,
Images courtesy of Cheyenne Ellis