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The following is a post from Mormanity blog. Special thanks to Daniel C. Peterson for bringing it to our attention. To see his blog, Sic et Non, click here.
Cover image via JeffLindsay.com.
When Mormon women party in Shanghai, the world becomes a better place. Especially parts of the world like Africa where women face roadblocks to education due to lack of feminine hygiene supplies. It may sound like an unusual topic for a party, but the bustling, intense party of Mormon women that I crashed yesterday was actually an inspiring service project in collaboration with Days for Girls International.
The many hours of selfless labor by these expat women in assembling and sewing kits of washable feminine hygiene products will advance education and self-reliance of women in Africa by dramatically reduce absenteeism in school and helping women become more independent and free from exploitation.
Women without education in many parts of the world are much more likely to end up being exploited by men. Days for Girls provides not just kits for coping with physical needs, but provides encouragement and information to girls to stand up for themselves and to recognize and flee from abuse. It gives them the power to say no and be free. In fact, part of the inspiration for Days for Girls came when some great women recognized the need to help African girls free themselves from exploitation linked to the challenge of feminine hygiene:
The girls were radiant when we shared what we had come with. 500 young women in the slums near Kibera, Kenya received DFGI kits and learned about health, hygiene and safety. According to one report from the World Health Organization 74% of African girls are sexually exploited before age 12, so we discussed not only hygiene and how to use kits, but also about their worth and encouragement to stand up for each other and against abuse. Nicole* (Not her real name to protect her identity) was one who came forward with huge gratitude. She explained that many of the girls were exploited in exchange for hygiene before we came. She said if they wanted to leave their rooms or attend class, they had to agree to have “relations” with the director of their school who would only offer them funds for hygiene if they did. Her testimony was not alone. Many others confirmed her story. When we realized how great the ramifications are for those that go without – and the power a simple solution has, we knew we had to help more. That was the day our program was born. [Source: “Their Own Stories,” Daysforgirls.org.]
The impact of Days for Girls is far more than just economic. A simple gift with much needed encouragement and teaching can break a variety of chains that enslave women.
To read the full article at Mormanity, click here.