First Distribution for 2018!

Well how amazing to see the faces of our very first recipients of our first 2018 distribution.

It is winter in Pakistan – the nights cold and clear – but that did not stop our wonderful Lubna Ghani in doing an information session for the 24 girls and ladies and distributing the kits. The cost of dealing with periods in Pakistan is very large – the materials expensive and there are no rubbish collection facilities – many don’t even have toilets or a hand pump in their houses.

Lubna explaining that every girl menstruates for approximately 3000 days in their lifetime

Washing hands saves lives and is a basic skill that is important to community health

Explaining the soap in the kit

Showing how the kit works

Giving each girl and lady a new Days for Girls Kit!

Speaking with the mothers and grandmothers

the grandmother on the left is the oldest lady in her village at 72. She collected a kit for her grand daughter and will explain it to her

Each distribution includes a session where the recipients learn how the body works and how to use the kit and then how to care for the kit – to make sure it lasts 3 to 4 years!! Lubna has now distributed over 100 kits to women in Pakistan.

And what is so exciting is that we are breaking new ground. In Pakistan periods are not talked about… they are endured. Mothers don’t tell their girls.  Teachers don’t tell their students. Couples do not speak of periods. We are breaking down those barriers and I hope that one day Girls will be able to talk openly to their families, Mothers to their children, Women to their husbands…… yes we are breaking new ground!

Lubna says ……Males of the society understood my presence with females of this community. But they are not open due to social hindrances. They showed great care and love and appreciated for such wonderful efforts towards women and girls.

Excitingly we have been offered a place in the International Days for Girls and while I don’t know what that means as yet – it seems very encouraging!

We are having a drive to collect funds to distribute kits to Pakistan over this year – we need to raise $1680 to send 360 kits to Pakistan … that is 360 girls in school for the next 4 years – that is pretty incredible. I am trilled to let you know that we have raised $490 so far!! Please be a part of this to help get kits to these girls you can donate here

We are looking towards an amazing year – thank you for all of your support

With love

Carol

Christmas time

As I write this I understand how busy we all are and how like many people I am running trying to get everything done. So firstly my apologies for not updating this for a while – I have gone back to paid employment (which I am enjoying immensely) but I have kept the facebook page up to date but not the website! So for the most up to date information please visit our facebook page….. Sew for a girl Canberra

with so many thanks to you all!!!!!

It seems to me that we often think the need is so great we can only make a drop in the sea of need. And while this individually is true – it is actually amazing what we can achieve together with a vision. What started out in July 2016 has grown to make a difference to 750 children and really, if we counted the many kids benefiting from school supplies and ongoing flow on effects for girls as they are able to attend school regularly – the flow on effect for the communities is much greater.

Changing these girls lives through Days for Girls Kits

One thing that we realised this year is that we do what we can, but we don’t spread our funds too thinly. We have been asked to provide toilets, school fees, washing machines and countless other things. But we know where we make the most impact and have identified that by harnessing our own abilities and providing lots of opportunities to create, donate and be involved, we are helping many more children.

A delivery of 30 or so dresses that have been lovingly sewn 🙂

The donations of fabric, undies and soaps etc, have become so regular that we now do not buy these things very often. Flannelette was a big issue for us this year as the fabric used in each menstrual kit is 1 metre. This became very costly and was taking quite a bit of our donated funds. With the help of the group we have now rolls of flanelette and it is wonderful to know that we have enough for sometime. Thank you everyone for your donations to buy the flannelette and Tanya T for your amazing and generous donation. Thank you also to Chris M who donated metres of PUL this has lightened the load hugely and it needed in all the shields we make.

Packing the Days for Girls Kits

Postage is always an issue – with $140 used every month to pay for the postage of 10 kilos (30 Kits) into Pakistan. We certainly need to do a fundraiser in the early part of next year to continue our work. It is essential to get the kits to the people who need it and it is making such a difference to the girls lives – we cannot stop now!! If you would like to donate towards the postage – we would be really grateful – it is really our most pressing need at the moment. Donate here.

The education session … learning about periods – information they never have been told before!

So it is with my grateful thanks to all my amazing team who cut, sew, package, pack, and donate their time and efforts to this project. Without you I could not possibly get it all done! Every week I am contacted by a person who is interested in sewing for us. While a few have dropped off the radar – many have joined and at last count there were about 50 from most states and Territories of Australia. While I cannot thank everyone – I would like to thank in particular Jenny S, Liz Mac, Linda, Chris M, Julia M, Sue H, Gill P and Leonie who are always doing everything they can to make the project succeed.

Our regular sewing mornings

A particular shout out to Gill P who helps me co-manage the Days for Girls part of our venture – and works so hard at washing, dyeing, tracing and also cuts, pieces and overlocks all our bags. Gill does an amazing job. Gill is still grateful when I arrive with more fabric to cut – or undies to dye exclaiming ‘oh goody!!’ – and does it all with humour and never a complaint!

Gill my co-manager for Days for Girls

Also thank you to Sue H and her husband Ron who work together at tracing all the dresses and the shorts and cutting them and putting them into packs. This is amazingly time consuming, but it is so useful for our sewers to know it is all ready for them when they pick up their packs for sewing. Sue also sews many dresses and shorts and sustains her sense of humour even when I arrive with boxes of donated fabrics! Ron has my old Janome overlocker and is now our hotspot washer, cutter and overlocker guru. We have introduced Ron to the rotary cutter recently and he is really enjoying this quick way of cutting the hotspots.

Sue – who I would be totally lost without

Of donations – there are so many it is hard to know where to start. So thank you to my friends who give of their time and funds to help out where they can …. we certainly are in a much better place at the end of this year than at the beginning! Our call outs are less frequent and this is a great thing. Every time I have had a call out – people have helped… with funds… with donations…with fabric…  I am beyond thankful. I appreciate you all and hope you will keep an eye out when we occasionally need assistance – without your help – it would have fizzled to nothing.

One of the generous donations of fabric received this year

Thank you to the amazing CWA – we now have several teams that help us regularly – and it is such a wonderful thing! We love getting the packages which always hold marvelous things to help our work – and the ladies are so fantastic to work with – thank you Kerrie and Elisabeth!

A letter from one of the Dapto cub scouts – says it all really!!

Over the last 18 months we have gone from strength to strength – Sue and I often reminisce about the time would try to match up fabrics for the tiny dresses and have nothing to use….. how we used to regularly go to Lincraft for a piece of cotton to blend in with several dresses at once, or how I would constantly be buying bias binding……..and now we have lots of gorgeous fabrics, bias and notions which have been donated and we are so blessed.

One of our dresses on a little girl at Fountain of Peace in Uganda

Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas, and we have a lot to celebrate. Love, friends, hope and a sense of belonging to a world which we can offer all of these things. So from me to you, I wish you a blessed Christmas, full of love and joy, and my heartfelt gratitude on helping make the life of children a little easier because we care.

Small things – these pencils are good quality and will help at School in Pakistan – many of our parcels contain school supplies

With love

Carol

Busy month – and more kits

Another amazing session

It is always wonderful to see the amazing responses to our Days for Girls kits sent into Pakistan … we have climbed up to 146 kits

This is new information – they are interested in learning what they have never known or discussed before. The mothers are also learning – as they do not know either

There is a very logical process of learning about menstruation and then what is in the kit … Lubna is holding undies as many poor people do not wear them – but they are essential for the other parts of the kit to work

This will change their lives – keep them in school, give them choices

 

The women come for their kits – this will help them so much

Educating the educators

Last week Lubna educated the teachers at her school – we are hoping to roll out more kits with the help of UTAH and train more leaders

Lubna explaining about Days for Girls

The teachers

Well our sewing day was a great success – we hoped for 60 kits and we managed to pack 90!! Thank you to our sewers, packers and everyone behind the scenes who couldn’t make it but do an enormous amount of work to get things done so we can get on with the kits on the day.

Here are our wonderful helpers this sewing day!

Chris (L) Gill and Jenny – in the sewing room – overlocking bags and liners

the lovely Leonie in the assembly room – coordinating the work and packing them into tubs

Linda – completing bags with a smile

Our two newest members – Sue and Hilary – assembling kits …. 90 – a record

We were delighted to send shorts over to the Solomon Islands via Dress a Girl NZ –  and here they are on the line (just some of them!!) We also sent dresses to Uganda in this shipment too

Shorts for boys, t shirts and undies

Here are the boxes we sent to the Christmas Box appeal with our dresses and shorts in them – plus lots of stationery items donated through the past months

lots of kits for boys and girls – no matter where they go we have helped more children in need

We are coming into November now – our last sewing day for the year

Thank you for all your support – it is amazing

Love

Carol

We are on track to the end of the year

Just a brief update as I wait for the delivery to be confirmed for Pakistan

Sewing morning is this friday!!!!

9;30am to 1pm

Grant Cameron Build (ground floor meeting room)

Mulley Street in Holder ACT

Everything is going really well – we have wonderful new sewers and kit enthusiasts who are excited to be involved. Welcome to Leonie, Sue and Hilary who have just joined our happy team.

We are very grateful for the amount of fabric donations we receive – it is just so wonderful that people find us and donate … thank you in particular to Michelle and Lori this month who have given us bundles of fabric. Plus donations of undies and face washers, flannelette and PUL – we are so grateful – as then funds from donations  can be sent towards postage.

Please note our postage kitty is empty – and I would love some help …… if you want to donate – please go here

I will post again once I have photos from Lubna – but thank you always for your support – it is amazing

With heaps of love and gratitude

Carol

End of September Report

I cannot believe it is a month since I updated but a lot has happened to be proud of!

After receiving the Days for Girls Training and their new kits

Firstly we have sent another 30 Days for Girls Kits to Pakistan so we are up to 106 kits now … and propose to send 30 kits a month. We have had donations for ribbon (thanks Yvette and Bill for your kind donation), and lots of cotton fabric, and I am so grateful that people are kindly donating undies and face washers.

Currently it costs $140 AUD to send each box of 30 kits and this is an on going monthly expense that we will need to do something about shortly. I have something in the pipeline to raise funds and I hope it comes off!! In the meantime – donations are very welcome as it is hard to get the funds together each month and the postage kitty is now very low.

Donations are gratefully received to help us get the Days for Girls kits and clothing out to kids in need – please donate here

The dresses we made and sent to Pakistan

I also have to thank CWA Hospital Support Group for their amazing donation of $200 which helped us send the 30 Days for Girls Kits to Pakistan, 10 dresses and 10 shorts sets for boys to the Christmas shoe box appeal, 20 dresses to Uganda via New Zealand and 10 boys shorts and T shirt sets for Vietnam via New Zealand – that is 80 children helped by your amazing generosity!

Lubna with the 32 dresses we sent

I have had to purchase a lot of flannelette recently – it is something that rarely gets donated – so may I ask you to look in your fabric stash and consider donating it – we just don’t have the shops in Canberra that sell it cheaply enough. Although recently I asked the ladies at the Craft Destash facebook site for help in this regard and was able to purchase flannelette at $4 per metre plus postage. I particularly need prints at the moment and would be really grateful to get some – each kit takes 1 metre of flannelette (that is 30 metres required for each lot of bags we send – it adds up quickly)

Kits being packed at the September sewing day

Lubna continues to work with the girls – and the ladies and mothers to really make the most of the training in the Days for Girls Program. I was asked recently to write an article for the Australian Days For Girls organisation. So I hope to share that with you soon once it is published.

Gideon in Tanzania is working on getting  the Matrons of Amani Kids trained for ‘Days for Girls’ and I also mentioned the small course ‘Men (or boys) who know’…. we are looking at sending kits to Tanzania via a bag carried onto the plane by an Australian volunteer. Postage to Tanzania is very inhibitive and costly – plus items seem to take ages to be released from he customs area. I will let you know how things go.

Lubna prepping the girls for the kits the girls will complete the training once the kits arrive

Our sewing morning in September was wonderful – sadly several of our regulars were not able to make it, we missed them – but we achieved 38 kits and lots of bags and dresses. We love new people to come on board too – and welcome Leonie to our merry group. She did a sterling job of assembling the kits and can sew as well!!

Leonie and Liz putting the kits together

Thank you to Sue and Ron who have taken over a lot of the dress and shorts cutting at the moment – Sue marks out and Ron cuts out! Such a great team – and certainly without my amazing ladies who help me so much we would not be able to do what we do.

New dresses – made possible with donations of fabric and the expertise of our sewing ladies

And thanks to Gill who is always ready to piece bags together, wash and dye (when necessary) fabric – I am so grateful to her – and could not do this without her help and humour. Even when I buy fabric and offer to wash it, Gill says she wants to do it – and I am so grateful!! she doesn’t even get fazed when I mention 20 metres!

Thank you also to all the marvelous donations of fabric, undies and face washers – we really rely on these to keep things moving. Particularly to Tash for facewashers, Gill for more fabric, Chris for lots of PUL and Libby for t shirts, face washers and fabric. This week I received more fabric donations from people who found us on the website.

Beautiful Kim and Linda -at the sewing day

I have lots of dresses to photograph tomorrow and will put lots of photos up on our facebook page – they are truly gorgeous and I love that everyone does a fabulous job sewing them all with love.

Leonie’s hands in action assembling the kits

Lastly – a shout out to our new sewing ladies Katy, Kim, Leonie and Ronnie. Welcome to the wonderful crazy team of people … we know you will enjoy it all!

Kits arrived – Girls are empowered, Mums are learning new info

Proudly holding the items that will keep you in school and change the direction of your life through education

We are up to 76 kits!!!! whoooo

Celebrating information and education which will change their futures

We have made our 3rd delivery and we are pretty proud of that

So the girls are learning new information and have a pack that will last them 3 to 4 years …. they will be in school no matter what time of the month ….. they will learn, and in the future can make choices rather than be powerless to make choices!

the pre education phase

And Mums are learning too – more information than they ever had before

lovely Lubna and a teenage girl who participated in the DfG training

Enjoy the photos

Every Girl. Everywhere. Period!

 

End of August Update

New Days for Girls Kits – keeping these girls in school and armed with the knowledge they need

Well these last weeks have gone fast but we are working behind the scenes to help kids in many ways … thanks so many people for your assistance – it is marvelous how many people are involved and I appreciate you all.

Thanks Chris for a fabulous sewing venue      

As I write this I am having a tea and reminiscing about our wonderful sewing day today and how many fantastic sewers and helpers we had. How great is this little village?  Today we focused largely on the Days for Girls packs as our hope is that we will get in front of what is needed each month … currently we send Lubna in Pakistan 30 kits a month and this seems to be what we can feasibly manage. In real terms this is quite a lot of work and uses a lot of resources … for instance 30 kits uses 30 metres of flannelette in the 240 liners, 2 metres of PUL (almost) and 60 large zip lock bags and the same amount of undies and then 30 facewashers and soaps. Thirty kits definitely take more that one 6 hour day for a group to finish…. there are many hours of sewing prior to the day to get these kits done.

So with thanks to Linda, Liz, Jenny, Gill, Chris and Natalie for all your work prior to today …. it helped us produce the kits on time. Thanks to everyone who donated undies and washers too – it makes so much difference!!

Funky shorts by Linda!!

The Cook Consortium has been spectacular in their sewing efforts recently and today we received the fruits of their labour. Thank you to Tania who assists in bring this all together and the amazing ladies who sew and get things done!!

Wonderful colours and dresses by the Cook Consortium … blown away

Colourful shorts for the boys too!

We have received lots of dresses too from others in the group this month …. Julia, Sue, Chris, Linda and Di …. we are stockpiling for several deliveries now …. and look forward to sending them out in the months ahead….. Uganda, Kenya and Papua New Guinea are just a few countries we are going to be supplying. In the next weeks ahead I will be sorting out the logistics of deliveries.

We did a talk to the Laurel Group in Belconnen last week which went very well. The ladies loved the information and several are going to look through their stashes at home. I also thank Lori for collecting fabric and we have lots of great boys shorts fabric as well as bias, lace and pretty prints. Every week I receive fabric – and it goes to good use … nothing is wasted and we try to use everything – if we cannot use it we find someone who can!!!

As I write this update I am waiting for photos from Lubna who gave out packs today. But here is the photo she sent me of the session preparing the girls for the kits. There is much excitement as the girls learn about their amazing bodies and how special they are. It opens their eyes and is a wonderful way to help them see menstruation for what it is – rather than shameful and taboo. I am also sending out dresses to Pakistan this week.

It is also interesting to note that keeping girls in school is vital in the girls not getting caught in sex trafficking … uneducated girls are most at risk.

Thank you also to my amazing friends who kindly donated funds for this cause for my birthday!!! We have purchased fabric, ribbon and postage with some of the funds and will continue to use these funds over the months to come 🙂

I am so grateful for your support … this week we are sending 38 dresses to Pakistan and by the end of the month 20 dresses to Fountain of Peace in Uganda! We cannot do it without your support.

With love and a grateful heart

Carol

 

 

Changing the future of girls in Pakistan

Changing girls lives in Pakistan

These simple packs will keep them in School

Lubna is doing an awesome job doing education classes and distributing kits throughout Pakistan! She has see first hand the effects of this very practical intervention. Helping girls learn about their bodies and keeping them in school.

Lubna explaining how to care for the pack and how to use the liners

I asked her what the women thought about Days for Girls and how they responded…. here is her reply (used with permisssion)

It is awesome…. when i talked first time about this they just felt not good hear about these things…as they have not heard before due to cultural situation. But as they listen all the details they were amazed and their mouths remained opened. They like this initiative and they would love that there are other girls who are in desperate need of kits. Amazing and lovely work by you. They are sending thanking words to all the sewing ladies.

If you cannot manage your period – you cannot attend school (130,000,000 kids don’t attend school, over 70% are girls)

If you cannot attend school you cannot catch up with the cirriculumn (one week out of every four is missed)

If you cannot catch up then you feel it is too hard to continue

If you don’t continue with school then you leave to work as a domestic and marry young (often to an older man or widower)

If you marry young, you probably have many children (some before your body is mature enough)

And so the cycle continues… for future girls, and generations like it has always been……

The smile says it all – opening of her world, increasing her choices – making her dreams possible

That is why Days for Girls is so important – it keeps girls in school… it gives them choices, helps them build a future, get an education and helps them make different choices for their lives. They no longer are bound by poverty, early marriage and lots of children. It strengthens and builds communities.

A little in awe perhaps but now with the information to change their lives and the packs to make it happen – these girls can stay in school and create a future …. different to generations before them

It increases education.

It provides possibilities and sustainability.

getting information about a previously not talked about topic – can be challenging even for the oldest of the women – but breaking these ingrained cultural taboos is important so women can take part in their community without fear or shame

July Sewing Day …

We all came together and sewed, cut, assembled kits and dresses – it was an amazing group of women who came together for a common purpose – to make a difference. We enjoyed the chance to be with other women – to see how things happen and to giggle and be productive. Most of all it was fun!! Thanks to Gill P for hosting and not blinking when the numbers grew to 11! Her mornign tea was amazing (I had 3 pieces of her amazing cake – but don’t tell anyone!!)

Gill our hostess with the finished kits

Our lovely ladies Sewed and overlocked their hearts out! We all worked on different things according to what we wanted or needed to do on the day

Anna-Maria in the left assembling kits, Tricia sewing dresses, Jenny overlocking shields

Gorgeous Boshka who pinned the hotspot to the linings – she did an amazing job

Leanne and I with a completed kit!

Linda did an amazing job with bags (because we desperately needed them – so thank you Linda) and Sue who sewed little infant dresses with cross over bodices, and Liz sewing the hotspot to the liner pieces…. poetry in action

the assembly line to put together the Days for Girls Kits – Anna-Marie, Me, Leanne and Courtney – with the gorgeous Austin under the table making baby gurgling noises

reading the ingredient label for morning tea – it is serious business

Thank you for your amazing work ladies – and thank you also to Toowoomba and Canberra City Days for Girls for their help in getting the next lot of kits to Pakistan with Liners and Bags – to supplement our own.

I am blown away by our tribe and what we can achieve – it takes many of us – and we made it happen … thank you all

Love C

Mid winter update

Hi everyone

Just a quick update to say hello and how we are tracking….

Changing our name – with the view to becoming a charity…. It really has been something I have been considering for a while that we now do so much than Sew for a Girl – and I have been scoping for an appropriate name….. We have yet to decide on this as I will need to register – and will consult the brains trust (otherwise known as my awesome ladies/friends) … I will keep you posted as I will need to register the name first and then go through the processes to become a charity. This will allow us to provide tax deductible receipts (it is not automatic and will take time for approval) but we will be working on this over the months ahead.

Days for Girls  … as you know we are now a team – Days for Girls Tuggeranong ACT – I am happy that we have sent 46 kits to Pakistan and there are more to come – how great it is to be working for this amazing project that keeps girls in school every school day of hte month, and it delivers amazing outcomes to the girls, women and the community. Pakistan will continue to grow through the facilitation of the program and we are delighted to provide the support they need through this program.

Donations…. Thank you to all who support us in so many ways – we recently took advantage of the Spotlight clearance and purchased a lot of fabrics for $2, $3, and $4 a metre. After cutting … the dresses averaged out to just $2.80 per dress!!!!! Thank you to Kristy, Karen, Ros, Bec, Gill and Liz for your support in this venture! Currently we have $310 in the kitty – and I have purchased $43 in ribbon and $42 in flannelette which have not been allocated yet against this amount. The next Days for Girls shipment to Pakistan will be taken from this amount which is wonderful……

Fabric Donations …. we have had a lovely lot of fabric donated by so many people this last month – and they are all cut and and ready to be sewn (except the shorts which will hopefully cut very soon). We have had amazing donations of PUL (waterproof lining) and flannel from Chris and Gill, and lots of lovely fabrics from Dorothy and Liz, Bec and Gill. And as always the CWA is amazing in their ongoing support.

Undies donations …. we go through heaps of undies!!!! And thank you to everyone who has helped … I feel a little embarrassed that I cannot list you all – but I know CWA Hospital Support, Bec, Gill, Kristy, Chris were very generous – and every one of those little undies goes either into the pocket of a dress or into a Days for Girls Pack.  If I have not mentioned you here I apologise.

Sewing …. as always thanks to all our amazing sewers who sew in their own time, often using their own fabrics and resources to provide gorgeous dresses made with love! Today I received more dresses and the colours and workmanship was as always outstanding. I love it when I receive these gorgeous dresses as I know how much love goes into them – so special!!!!! These are just a few I received in the last few days from Chris M and Dianne S.

Patterns…. are available in the store (the cost covers the printing and postage only) and now will include the 2 to 6 size cross over dress as I have been asked for this so much recently. If you have purchased the pattern previously – please let me know and I will send this dress pattern to you free of charge. We will be sending 20 to Uganda soon….

Labels … also available in the store 🙂 32 labels to the sheet – both boys and girls available

Special Mention – to Elizabeth C and Chris M for your amazing support and donations …. I am overwhelmed and very grateful to have your support 🙂

I think that is all at the moment

Thank you all for your amazing work – I am so grateful

 

Why is Days for Girls so important?

I am often asked why we became involved with Days for Girls and I think this explains it so well…. Our dresses make little girls smile, feel valued and special – Days for Girls changes their future by keeping them in school and getting an education which gives them lots of choices for their lives.

Honestly this is the best video I have seen – even after watching it 10 or more times I still feel teary

Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.

Days for Girls from Miles Hanon on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do 🙂

C