A few years ago my husband and I moved back to London after spending our teaching careers in Huron County. We were retired and it was time to come home to the community where we grew up. Shortly after the move I became aware of Days for Girls International. I learned that there were only eight teams in Canada, and no team in London. Just before Christmas that year nine of us met in my living room and Days for Girls, Team London Ontario was established.
Since then, more than 50 people have joined us in the creation of feminine hygiene kits for “Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.” We meet one day a month to spend the hours together cutting and pinning, sewing and serging, ironing and folding, as we stockpile our Days for Girls (DfG) kits.
To date we have distributed DfG kits in 14 countries, providing 2379 Girls with the help they need with menstrual management. Each time we have also provided the accompanying DfG educational component about menstrual health and hygiene. I have had the privilege of conducting many of these distributions personally, and I am humbled repeatedly by the extreme appreciation expressed by the Girls. They make it very clear that their new DfG kits will be life changing!
It is the appreciation the Girls express that makes a huge difference to all the people who support us in London Ontario. The members of Team London work together joyfully with integrity and determination to make each kit one that will be loved, used, and cared for by the girl who receives it. Knowing that our kits make it possible for girls to attend school during their periods when they otherwise would not, and understanding what a difference that makes in their lives, is both motivation and rewarding for us.
As we sew for “The Girls”, the word of our work is spreading through our city, and church groups and service clubs regularly request that we speak to them about our experiences. We are met with amazing encouragement from all across the city, as individuals and groups come forward to help in whatever ways they can. I always remind these people that they are a part of our story, no matter how small their role is in our work. Any contribution that is made ... whether it be time, or labour, or materials, or a cash donation ... benefits a Girl somewhere, providing her with dignity, hygiene, and education. The people of London tell me repeatedly that they are impressed to be learning about the girls we serve, and delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in such a positive movement. Days for Girls has an impact on all of us!
Most of the members of our team are retired, and to us the work we do is a way of making a significant positive change in a world that sometimes seems to be hopelessly problematic. Each kit we make is designed to last for three years, and represents 180 days that a Girl can attend school even though she is menstruating. By providing washable, re-usable, and gorgeous feminine hygiene kits, we have already delivered 435,420 days of school for Girls! That’s more than a thousand years.
As we make this important and measurable change in the lives of the Girls we reach, we ourselves are also changing. We are developing strong and caring friendships based on our common goals. We are reaching out to our community and beyond, explaining the importance of our work and providing opportunities for others to participate. We are becoming advocates for Girls ... Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.
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