There are many campaigns at present across the world, to help girls and women with management of menstruation. Our girls may miss school for up to a week each month once they start to menstruate. Access to appropriate products to maintain hygiene is difficult for reasons of cost and accessibility.
The Trustees have been looking to see if there is a way to help. Initial thoughts were to provide funds to buy disposable products but the solution appears to lie with reusable sanitary pads. There are projects in Malawi who are able to supply these products. The pack is quite expensive but should last for many months possibly years. The other alternative is for the girls to learn to make their own. They need to be of a good enough quality so training is needed.
Our Trustee, Kate, researched patterns on the internet and downloaded the Luna Wolf pattern. Kate likes sewing so she found some appropriate fabrics and had a go at making a sample. It is not easy and Kate has an electric sewing machine to help stitch through layers of fabric. So after making a couple of samples Kate decided to make a batch. Our Trustee Jenny was visiting the school a couple of weeks later and was able to take materials to Gertrude Banda to assess, so Kate worked away and made about 45 pads to give to Jenny. Kate said:
‘ the pads are not easy to make, cutting out skills and sewing skills are needed, and access to appropriate materials, so I thought I would give the girls a good start. As I was sewing I looked at all the tools I needed, scissors, needles, thimbles, pins, threads and press studs and so I made up a box of kit to send with the samples’
This is just the start of this project.