One of my New Years’ resolutions was to do more social crafting and I’ve made quite a good start in keeping to that. At the end of January I started up a Crochet and Chat group in Selby, which is lovely and I really look forward to that each week. In early March I also helped out at a Days for Girls International workshop in the lovely city of York (that’s Clifford’s Tower in the pic above with the mound absolutely choc full of daffodils.
One of the lovely ladies who comes along is Jocelyn and she told me about this charity event and I decided to go along and find out more about it and help out. It was sewing rather than yarn-related and was in York Minster AND for a very good cause, even though it was a pretty grey sort of day.
Days for Girls Workshops
This workshop was arranged by the local Rotary Club in conjunction with York Minster and is a project coordinated by Days for Girls International.
The idea behind the workshop was to make hygiene kits for girls in parts of the world where the stuff you need at that time of the month is too expensive for most families to afford, or simply in short supply. We take so many things for granted living in the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand…. and loads of other ‘First World’ locations. But we also muck up our environment with ‘disposable’ items that take years to degrade in landfill.
In developing countries and rural communities across the world, girls and women have to make do with what they have. Unfortunately, in many places, this means staying at home for several days each month and cultures still regard women who are menstruating as ‘unclean’. The upshot of this is that teenage girls just don’t get to school for one week in every four… so that is a lot of education lost, which reduces their changes in life and means a rougher life for their children in the future. In fact, each kit that is used extends the education of every girl that gets one – meaning that she gets at least 8 months extra full time education over 3 years.
The Days for Girls initiative aims to help by putting together pretty hygiene kits that girls are proud to have and that contain everything they need to deal with menstruation. Non-disposable and reusable cotton pads with a leak-proof backing, plastic bags for washing soiled items, and a drawstring bag to keep everything together and away from unwanted eyes.
The workshop that I went to on March 8th recruited volunteers from all over Yorkshire – over 300 of them – and we spent a few hours in the gorgeous surroundings of York Minster, cutting, sewing and assembling. We were a real production line with each table doing a different task and then the seasoned organisers put everything together to produce the final, finished kits.
As you can see from the pictures I took, there was a blur of activity going on…
The fabric was donated from a Yorkshire mill – and beautiful fabrics too. One of the key things about the project is that girls need have something that is hard wearing (each kit is designed to last for 3 years) but it needs to look nice too. The better the fabric, the more likely the kits are to be accepted and used.
Part of the project also involves teaching women in these communities to make kits for themselves and also to sell to make a living for their families. You can find out more, including how you can get involved in this great project by visiting Days for Girls International… as the name says it is international and you can help out, no matter where in the world you are… Click on the map to find out more…