health care

Sanitary pads will help keep girls in school

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EMPOWER

“Empower”. I recently learned a bit more about what that word means.

A little over a year ago, I attended a national conference for Parish Nurses and viewed a poster session about the Days for Girls program. (DFG)

DSC_0315Days for Girls is a program that aims to enable teenage girls in third-world countries to attend school every day that classes are in session. Sadly, this is not usually the case. Teenage girls stay home during their monthly menstrual period due to lack of sanitary products that can provide them with a sense of security to go out in public without fear of accidents and embarrassment. The girls become, quite literally, prisoners to their bodily functions. They miss school on a regular basis, and thus become continually behind in their lessons, trying to catch up with and compete with the boys. Women beyond school age face similar problems in going about their daily lives. They too often have to stay home and “hide” during their monthly periods.DSC_0135

Days for Girls is an International Program where volunteers sew sanitary kits to be given to both teenage girls and women. Each kit contains washable and reusable “shields” and “liners” that attach around a pair of panties using a snap. Also included in the kits are panties, zip lock bags for storage and washing, a bar of soap, and a washcloth. All kit contents come inside a cloth drawstring bag.

The DFG program concepts continued to fester in my heart and mind long after I returned from my conference. I felt that perhaps this program would be useful in Malawi, but this is a subject that we often don’t think or talk about. I wasn’t sure. To implement such a program even on a small scale, would require a great deal of coordination and education. I decided to bounce the idea off MOCP’s primary female contact in Malawi, Yami Chikoti. Yami is a member of the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministries (KOCM) Board and works directly with the villagers and village committee in the area of Kanyenyeva where MOCP has been working over the past 10 years.

Yami’s response was an overwhelming and enthusiastic “YES”!! The program would most definitely be welcomed!! Further discussions revealed the need for basic education about female anatomy and reproduction. We would also need to explain the basic usage of such things as panties and snaps! Could the local women be taught to sew additional liners? Would the required fabrics be available locally? How can we teach to sew products in a location without even a table to cut the fabric on? Would the treadle sewing machines even work?

DSC_0349After weeks of prayer, I felt that God was telling me to simply go forward. He would be with us guiding our steps. Details would work themselves out. Do not be afraid.

My fears were taken away and replaced with a reverent joy as I watched the women and girls eagerly learn about the program and immediately want to start right in making more liners! My husband and his engineering students from North Central State College quickly built us a table with dual purpose benches serving as the supports. My sister, Debby Bonte, came along and helped with the sewing instruction. Our initial kits were sewn as a combined effort of Days for Girls programs in Phoenix, AZ, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and members of the First English Lutheran Church in Mansfield, OH.

DSC_0172The girls and women were most definitely EMPOWERED!! It was both humbling and heart warming to watch and listen as they immediately joined together in a song and dance of thanksgiving! One of the village elders also spoke with the girls reminding them what a precious gift had just been given to them. She spoke about how she, and many others before her, went their entire lives without such an opportunity to live their lives every day of the month.

Yami has asked that MOCP try to continue and grow the program to include all of Malawi! KOCM will work with us to find local representatives to help educate the women and distribute the products. God has more plans for us!

If you would like to get involved, either by forming a local sewing group, or by donating funds to purchase items such as the panties and soap, or to help pay for transportation costs, please contact me directly. I am also looking into grant and vendor funding to assist us as we carry this project forward.

Please keep the women and girls in Malawi in your prayers!

Contact: Penny Ekegren, MOCP Secretary

53 Park Ave West, Mansfield, Ohio 44902

Email: penny@ekegrens.com

Cell phone: 419-631-7151

Days for Girls

DSC_0142

EMPOWER

“Empower”. I recently learned a bit more about what that word means.

A little over a year ago, I attended a national conference for Parish Nurses and viewed a poster session about the Days for Girls program. (DFG)

DSC_0315Days for Girls is a program that aims to enable teenage girls in third-world countries to attend school every day that classes are in session. Sadly, this is not usually the case. Teenage girls stay home during their monthly menstrual period due to lack of sanitary products that can provide them with a sense of security to go out in public without fear of accidents and embarrassment. The girls become, quite literally, prisoners to their bodily functions. They miss school on a regular basis, and thus become continually behind in their lessons, trying to catch up with and compete with the boys. Women beyond school age face similar problems in going about their daily lives. They too often have to stay home and “hide” during their monthly periods.DSC_0135

Days for Girls is an International Program where volunteers sew sanitary kits to be given to both teenage girls and women. Each kit contains washable and reusable “shields” and “liners” that attach around a pair of panties using a snap. Also included in the kits are panties, zip lock bags for storage and washing, a bar of soap, and a washcloth. All kit contents come inside a cloth drawstring bag.

The DFG program concepts continued to fester in my heart and mind long after I returned from my conference. I felt that perhaps this program would be useful in Malawi, but this is a subject that we often don’t think or talk about. I wasn’t sure. To implement such a program even on a small scale, would require a great deal of coordination and education. I decided to bounce the idea off MOCP’s primary female contact in Malawi, Yami Chikoti. Yami is a member of the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministries (KOCM) Board and works directly with the villagers and village committee in the area of Kanyenyeva where MOCP has been working over the past 10 years.

Yami’s response was an overwhelming and enthusiastic “YES”!! The program would most definitely be welcomed!! Further discussions revealed the need for basic education about female anatomy and reproduction. We would also need to explain the basic usage of such things as panties and snaps! Could the local women be taught to sew additional liners? Would the required fabrics be available locally? How can we teach to sew products in a location without even a table to cut the fabric on? Would the treadle sewing machines even work?

DSC_0349After weeks of prayer, I felt that God was telling me to simply go forward. He would be with us guiding our steps. Details would work themselves out. Do not be afraid.

My fears were taken away and replaced with a reverent joy as I watched the women and girls eagerly learn about the program and immediately want to start right in making more liners! My husband and his engineering students from North Central State College quickly built us a table with dual purpose benches serving as the supports. My sister, Debby Bonte, came along and helped with the sewing instruction. Our initial kits were sewn as a combined effort of Days for Girls programs in Phoenix, AZ, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and members of the First English Lutheran Church in Mansfield, OH.

DSC_0172The girls and women were most definitely EMPOWERED!! It was both humbling and heart warming to watch and listen as they immediately joined together in a song and dance of thanksgiving! One of the village elders also spoke with the girls reminding them what a precious gift had just been given to them. She spoke about how she, and many others before her, went their entire lives without such an opportunity to live their lives every day of the month.

Yami has asked that MOCP try to continue and grow the program to include all of Malawi! KOCM will work with us to find local representatives to help educate the women and distribute the products. God has more plans for us!

If you would like to get involved, either by forming a local sewing group, or by donating funds to purchase items such as the panties and soap, or to help pay for transportation costs, please contact me directly. I am also looking into grant and vendor funding to assist us as we carry this project forward.

Please keep the women and girls in Malawi in your prayers!

Contact: Penny Ekegren, MOCP Secretary

53 Park Ave West, Mansfield, Ohio 44902

Email: penny@ekegrens.com

Cell phone: 419-631-7151

Praise and Prayers

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We praise God for the work that He is doing at the orphan project. Three groups went to the orphan project this past summer and were welcomed into the community like they were family. Of the three groups that were there, only two people had been to the orphan project previously….leaving 17 people who had never met the people of Kanyenyeva before but that didn’t matter, they were still welcomed like family.

DSC_1693Each group had a different focus. Some of the things that the first group did was to built a new play gym, help with the feeding program, and learn about some of the small businesses at the orphan project. To view more pictures, see our album Malawi trip, June 2014 on our Facebook page.

 

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The second group enjoyed playing with the children at the orphan project but primarily focused on learning about education in Malawi. To learn more about education in Malawi, please see our blog which talks about life and education in Malawi at 4malawi.wordpress.com.  To view more pictures, see our album July, 2014 on our Facebook page.

 

The third group led Bible lessons and games for the children and Bible lessons for the women at the orphan project. They also repaired the stoves used for OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe feeding program and the seats of the swings at the orphan project. To view more pictures, please see our album Team 3 August, 2014 on our Facebook page.

 

Each group experienced God’s work being done at the orphan project in amazing ways and formed friendships that will last through eternity. We praise and thank God for the work that He is doing at the orphan project and for allowing us to be a part of it.

 

PRAYERS

Please pray for Sinoden Kanyemba’s family and all the people associated with the orphan project.
This note recently arrived from the orphan project, “We just lost one of our children at Kanyenyeva; a form two (10th grade) student, Sinoden Kanyemba…It is difficult for us to come to terms with this loss. He died after a short illness; the doctors say he didn’t have enough blood and that his pressure and sugar levels were high.”

Please pray for good nutrition and good health for all of the orphans and their caregivers. Health care is Malawi is very basic and not easy to access. The diet of most of the people in the Kanyenyeva region is poor so their bodies cannot fight illnesses and diseases easily.

Although conditions are improving at the orphan project, there is still a long way to go for the people there to have adequate nutrition, health care, and education. Please join us in praying for the people of Kanyenyeva and all around the world who don’t have their basic needs met.

Zikomo kwambiri (Thank you very much).