Church Ladies Keep Girls in School

Published Sun, Oct 27, 2019

As female Ethiopian students grow older, opportunities for education decrease, especially in poor, rural areas. While Adams Thermal Academies enroll only the "poorest of the poor", one of the barriers that can keep young girls out of the classroom is feminine hygiene and overall menstrual health. In developing countries like Ethiopia, school-aged girls often miss several days of school each month sitting on all manner of unsanitary materials and often going without food unless someone brings it to them. In addition, adolescent girls are often bullied or humiliated in school due to a lack of hygiene resources as well as training. 

Back in 2014, nurses at Adams Thermal Academies began to call attention to absenteeism in both Hosanna and Ottoro due to issues of feminine hygiene affecting female students. Administrators began to seek out solutions which would include supplies, training and disposal management for several hundred students. Answers were not easily found and most solutions only provided temporary relief. 

Then we discovered "Days for Girls", an international organization committed to mobilizing girls and women by increasing access to menstrual care and education in more than 125 countries around the world. "Days for Girls" has designed safe, washable, long-lasting hygiene kits and menstrual health training for girls in developing countries. In addition, these kits are hand-made by more than 50,000 volunteers around the globe, organized by chapters, teams, clubs and individual sewing enthusiasts. 

It was not long after we discovered the "Days for Girls" organization that a local church-based sewing club from Inwood, Iowa contacted us about the opportunity to produce hygiene kits for our schools in Hosanna and Ottoro. The ladies in the sewing club meet on a regular basis to sew and assemble "Days for Girls" kits in one of the rooms at a local church. One member of the club is 96-years-old and rarely misses her turn on the sewing machine. Since Inwood is only 11 miles away from our offices in Canton, SD, we drive over and deliver empty suitcases to the sewing club. In a few weeks, the club sends the suitcases back full of hygiene kits ready for travel to Ethiopia on our next trip. To date, more than 400 hygiene kits have been delivered to our schools. 

We're deeply grateful for the "Days for Girls" organization (https://www.daysforgirls.org/) and the church ladies from Inwood, Iowa who help to keep our young ladies in the classroom! Thank you!

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