Orphans Africa (OA) is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt charitable organization that began in 2007 with the coming together of three ordinary people whose desire was to build peace between nations by providing assistance to those who are most vulnerable.
LESLIE’S STORY by Leslie Ryan — Portland, Oregon, USA
I had the extreme opportunity to teach and deliver 147 reusable feminine hygiene kits to the young women of Bujela, Tanzania. The kits were constructed by hand by volunteers from both Days For Girls and Orphans Africa. Each draw-string bag contained 2 cloth moisture-barrier shields, 10 cloth pads, 2 Ziploc bags, underwear, washcloth, and soap.
The girls were very receptive to talking about a subject that can be a little embarrassing. We talked about what they normally do or use when they are menstruating; I was glad to hear that some of the girls had been using a washcloth as a pad so that they would not miss school. We opened the kits and showed them how to use and properly clean the pads. To some of the girls this was a new concept. The moment I explained that when a pad is full they can just remove it from the liner, put it in a Ziploc bag and put a new pad in, there was a huge roar of cheering and clapping. Now they would no longer have to worry about leaving or missing school for one week every month. I could see the relief on their faces.
The girls were very engaged; they asked some great questions about cleaning the kits and how long they would last. At the end of the class we passed out the kits and let the girls open them up and trade if they needed a different size. They loved to see the different fabric patterns used in the kits. They looked very intently at how the pads were constructed so that they could understand it. Not only did we give the young women of Bujela a gift that will lessen some of their worries, but we also showed them something new that enabled them to think outside the box.