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Volunteers needed to help assemble hygiene kits
Kits help girls abroad manage their periods and stay in school
The Roseville Rotary Club is partnering with Days for Girls, an international program that helps prevent girls from missing school due to their periods, by helping put together hygiene kits.
The club is organizing sew-a-thons, where volunteers can help to sew washable, reusable sanitary pads and assemble hygiene kits.
The sew-a-thons are set for two Sundays, May 14 and June 11, from 2 to 4 p.m., at J. Arthur's Coffee Shop, 2411 Rice St., Roseville. Though the coffee shop is closing to the public at the end of April, its owner has given permission for the sew-a-thons to be held there.
At the sew-a-thons there will be fabric to be cut and bags to iron and string, in addition to the sewing jobs. Four sewing machines are available for people who wish to sew, but you may bring your own machine as well.
Donations are also needed: zippered gallon freezer bags, wash cloths, hotel-size bars of soap, washed 100 percent cotton flannel in dark and wild colors, and girls' panties, sizes 8 to 14, 100 percent cotton fabric in dark and wild patterns.
Deb Nygaard, a project volunteer through the Roseville Rotary Club, said the organization took 300 hygiene kits to a refugee camp in western Uganda last fall and more recently, 50 to Senegal. Overall, Days for Girls has provided more than 100,000 girls and women in 83 nations with hygiene kits to manage their periods.
The Days for Girls girls began in 2008 to provide washable hygiene kits so girls in third-world countries could stay in school during their periods. The kits contain moisture barrier shields, pads made of flannel to fit inside, a gallon-size freezer bag for transporting soiled items and for soaking them in a very small amount of water, two pairs of panties, one washcloth, a travel-size bar of soap and a drawstring bag to put the items in and later to use as a book bag.
Without this program, girls in remote areas of third-world countries can be forced to miss school during their periods, which can cascade into more problems.
According to the Washington state-based program, after hygiene kits were distributed in Uganda, school absence rates dropped from 36 percent to 8 percent, and in Kenya, from 25 percent to 3 percent.
“It's an inspiring thing in which to participate, and the winners are all the girls in developing countries whose lives will be so powerfully and positively impacted,” Nygaard said.
To find out more on how to get involved locally call Deb Nygaard at 612-919-0882. For more information about the program, go to www.daysforgirls.org.
Pamela O’Meara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 651-748-7818.