Creating a better future for disadvantaged Girls

Creating a better future for disadvantaged Girls

Days for Girls‘ mission is to create a better future for girls by providing advocacy, reproductive health education and sustainable solutions for girls who have nothing suitable to manage their period. Without access to hygiene products, girls in many countries in the developing world can miss up to 8 months of school every 3 years, and are much more likely to drop out altogether.

This is a problem that can lead to under-age marriage, as in many communities, menstruating girls that are not in school are considered “eligible” regardless of age. So, it turns out this simple issue is one of the keys to social change.

Days for Girls began in 2008 when Founder and CEO Celeste Mergens was working in Kenya assisting at an orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi. She questioned the Assistant Director “What are the girls doing for feminine hygiene?” He replied, “Nothing. They wait in their rooms, sitting on cardboard.” This led to Celeste to set in motion her first intervention-disposable pads. This turned out not to be sustainable or practical, so plan B was introduced-a washable, long lasting pad.

Since the first design, 28 iterations have followed to the design we have today.

Each washable kit contains 2 shields, 8 liners, 2 pair of knickers, a face washer, 2 zip lock bags, instruction sheet, all contained in a drawstring bag to maintain privacy. Each kit is proving to last, on average, 3 years.

In July, I met Debbie Butters, a midwife at the Hervey Bay Hospital who began the Anguganak Healthy Motherhood project in Papua New Guinea (PNG). On her next trip, Debbie was keen to take some kits with her and educate the girls about menstruation and distribute kits to the girls. Together we joined forces and aimed for 100 kits.

Following our story in a local paper, we were very thankful to have received donations of knickers, face washers, bags and material. This all contributed to our Community Sewing day last month. We had 28 ladies come together to sew, thread, iron and pack 40 kits. Over the last month, ladies have continued to sew to allow us to reach our goal of 100. That equates to 100 fabric bags, 100 face washers, 200 shields, 200 pairs of knickers, 200 plastic bags & 800 liners. Debbie flew on October 15th with her supply.

Just recently, I have been asked for 30 kits to go to Cambodia. We have continued sewing and have just about reached the target.

To raise further funds, awareness and collect consumables, we are holding a High Tea on Sunday, November 12th at 2pm at The Waterfront Restaurant, Urangan. You will hear about Debbie’s success in PNG, and I will be asking for volunteers to assist with packing kits ready for our delivery next year.

Tickets are $35.00. Rather than a raffle, we invite you to bring any of the following: face washers, knickers-bikini style, size 10 to 14, Hercules large zip lock bags, hotel size soap and material-quality cotton and flannel. Please be aware that items cannot have animals, people or faces. Dark colours, florals and geometrics are best.

I am always looking for people that may be interested in either sewing or cutting out material. And I will be holding another Community Sewing Day in February.

For further information about High Tea bookings or interested in assisting with this wonderful program, please contact me on 0400 553 295, email: or visit our Face Book page at Days for Girls Hervey Bay

Written by Heather Sugget

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