Here it is at last – our newsletter
Here it is at last – our newsletter
How is it that it seems I updated the website only a few weeks ago – and here we are 3 months later!! It is not as though we are not busy – we are busier than ever!!
Isalamabad – Pakistan
We are totally delighted to welcome Sara Asif as a Women’s Health Ambassador to continue the work in Pakistan with girls and women in Islamabad Pakistan. Sara is involved with ‘I Support the Girls’ charity and was already distributing bras, panties and disposable pads when I approached her to see if we could help! She also runs a Vocational Training Centre where the girls learn to sew.
The girls have been sewing panties and bras, and we have sent them a snap machine and our Poly Eurothane Laminate (water proof barrier) for making pads – they are very excited to be able to make pads which can be used, washed and don’t leak. We will look at establishing an Enterprise once things have settled as it is early days.
It is easy to underestimate the effect that these small kits will have on each of these girls, they bring dignity and health, with a washable option every month. They bring education as the girls no longer need to miss days of school. They bring careers as educated girls go on to bring income and opportunities for the family. And with education and a career the women have more opportunities, less pressure to marry young and have many children. They change their own lives, their families lives and the community!!
Currently there are around 1600 DFG kits on their way to Pakistan in two shipments – there is exciting anticipation for the kits to arrive, plus clothing, warm items, school items, bras and toiletries.
Manila – Philippines
We are so very blessed to have made the contact with Micaela and Leisl who have connections to the Philippines and a real passion for assisting the families living in the slums built on the dump sites. These families are so very poor, with little and the need is so great. So Jorlyn has completed her training as an Ambassador of Womens Health and this amazing team goes out and distributes Days for Girls Kits to the dump sites and also deliver bras, toiletries, kids clothes, school supplies, shoes, toys and first aid supplies.
Over the past weeks many children have been given new clothes, dresses and shorts, underwear and for the young girls and women – bras. It is so important for the health of women in countries to have dignity and health with appropriate menstrual products and underwear – and we are delighted to assist.
I am also very happy to let you know that across Australia DFG teams have donated kits to the Philippines to assist with the great need. It is through their constant assistance and help that we have been able to deliver the astounding numbers of kits into the Philippines that we have been able too.
Here are a few photos of the kids receiving their new clothes – they are extremely patient as they wait in line for their clothes and delighted when it is finally their turn …. as you can see…..
We have so much to do in the Philippines and we will continue to support the team and the work these amazing people are doing …. we appreciate them so much
Punjab – Pakistan
In Punjab Pakistan Lubna Ghani has been able to do several distributions over the past month through the regions around Toba Tek Singh. there are been several distributions which have been really successful and it seems Rotary is interested now in becoming involved.
It has taken time for the people of the area to get involved with the Days For Girls ethos – but Lubna has done an amazing job and valiantly continues the work even though sometimes it is very difficult.
Unfortunately COVID has torn through Pakistan and Lubna and her family tested positive in mid April. It is great to hear however that they all recovered and while they are recuperating and minding their health, hundreds of kits are on their way to them from DFG Teams from around Australia. The support has been incredible and it is a testament to the belief that the DFG kits change lives!
At Easter Lubna did a distribution of kids clothes, toiletries and toothbrushes – proudly held aloft in this photo – the children haven’t learnt to brush their teeth so Lubna teaches this skill and washing hands which save lives in these communities.
Colombo – Sri Lanka
We are delighted to say that our first shipment to Sri Lanka is on its way – 275 DFG Kits from Lismore DFG Team. We have Kusum Amaratunge trained as an Ambassador of Womens Health and involved in Lions Club in Sri Lanka. While we are not quite there as yet I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Chandanie Kottege for the introduction and we are excited that DFG kits into Sri Lanka will be happening in about 7 weeks.
If you have got this far – thanks for keeping with this – there was so much to catch up on. We held our 3rd Market – the Autumn Leaves Market on the 1st and 2nd of May to raise funds for Sew for a Girl Canberra (incorporating Days for Girls – Tuggeranong ACT). We are delighted to say we raised $2100 in sales of our Market Tote Bags and other items on the stall.
I thank all the volunteers to assisted so ably on the day, the market stall holders who were a joy to work with and the Pearce Community Centre for a great venue. In addition the customers were so supportive and generous it made the whole market hum and was wonderful to be a part of.
I am in planning mode for the Christmas in July Market on the 10th and 11th July which should be such fun!!
Thank you one and all for your amazing support – I simply am blown away how we can achieve so much and help so many by simply working together and holding onto the passion!!
Lots of love
There is so much happening at the present so I thought I would just do a quick update tonight to keep everyone up to speed.
As far as Pakistan is concerned there are two main things happening – the shipment of 157 kilos left my place tonight! – thanks to Pakistan Express Freight – !!!! for both Sara in Islamabad and Lubna in Punjab – kits, clothes, school supplies, toiletries and bras and all the knitted and crochet blankets, beanies, and baby wear – the cost was $800 but well worth getting on its way
With Sara in Islamabad we are doing a two pronged approach – the ladies (and older girls) that sew in her vocational centre will be making pads of the most useful design and we are going to pay for flannelette and a PUL like barrier – the pads will be all in one and have layers of flannelette which may be awkward to dry but we will see how it all works out. I was given a snap press a year ago – so it is now on its way to Pakistan – I have ordered snaps and the dies for the machine and she is very happy to be able to offer the ladies a good solution.
Sara will be distributing our kits in marginalised schools and communities along with bras – so I said we would send bras as we get them. The need is very great and Sara is involved in I Support the Girls – a charity which supplies girls with underwear, bras and pads – however the pads are disposable and Sara is excited to look at another workable solution – As Sara said last night ‘I am the girl who is known for underwears and pads, now I can be known as the girl who can give washable pads too.’
My hope is that we will be able to support her to build an enterprise….. and the women will have an income – anyway – small steps as we worked around language last night and working out what eachother meant – bamboo, panda – for bamboo fabric – was very funny and Sara told me there was a dibbler on every street ….. which seems to mean a sort of Mr Minute – who can put snaps on garments for a fee …. it is always fascinating
The other amazing thing is how the DFG leaders in Australia have supported our Teams work – they have been sending their kits to me to distribute and they are very excited – so many want to help – I guess we are seen to actually be getting out there – and teams want their kits to go to the girls. I now have another 300 for Lubna to send in the next shipment being delivered from Emu Plains straight to the warehouse in Marsden Park. Lubna is now going to operate in more cities – how good is that????
As I write this I know that Sri Lanka is sitting waiting for kits and that we will be looking at supplying them through donations from the Sri Lankan Community to get them there – I love that the Ambassador and his wife are keen to become involved – who knows where this might lead.
Lastly thank you for all your amazing support for our work – I am blown away with how people help and support it all – I am totally excited to let you know that our four markets this year will raise money for Days for girls and our work. Through the sales of our market totes which has been incredible. I have asked for permission to extend the market through the corridor a bit more sooooo – it is going to be awesome – and it will also help us raise funds – because – the shipments, fabric and costs have been high lately – but it is great stuff!! And I am so proud we raised the money last year at the markets and through some kind donations – I am happy to spend it to get the kits across the world.
We have lots to do this year – and lots of girls to offer dignity and education through our work.
There is so much to do, and together we can!
She has got this. We have got her!
Every girl. Everywhere. Period.
Well we are into 2021 with new eyes after what was a strange and eventful 2020! What I have to say is that I feel very blessed to live in Australia and through the times of COVID we have done well!
This year will be busy with taking on the Philippines and we are all so excited to make a difference there – next week we pack for the Philippines and we are waiting for our first shipment to arrive there shortly.
Our market days were such a success last year that we are running four market days this year. These days help us get the word out about what we do and help us raise funds for Days for Girls. I didn’t realise how successful they would be – but everyone is happy with the results and we are loving being able to spread the word too.
I have updated the calendar for the dates this year and it can be found here
The market day information can be found here
I look forward to a great year ahead and I am delighted at the support we have from the people of Canberra and beyond!
What a year this has been and you would think that from my lack of posts – we have not been busy – actually the total reverse is true! We have been so busy with our sewing and packing that the website has been sadly not updated as it should be! Never mind – maybe that is a new years resolution for 2021 that I might be able to keep.
As I reflect on 2020 I reflect on the resilience of our volunteers – not only Canberra based but Australia and the World. Our team has actually sent more clothing and DFG kits to the world this year than any other year – and world wide – DFG International seem to be almost at the 2 million kit mark – that is 2million girls and women who have dignity and can go to school or work and change their community.
We began sewing and packing again in July, when it was safe to do so, and we have sent two huge shipments in both July and October to Pakistan which will keep things going there for the next 6 months so we can concentrate on the very real need in the Philippines.
At a Bosom Buddies High Tea I was delighted to meet Micaela who along with her family is providing consistent and very needed support to the slum city on the garbage dump in the Philippines. It was one of those light bulb moments where you meet the right person at just the right time – and as I spoke to her and the work that is happening there – I knew we had to be involved.
Firstly she in contact with Evelyn who she sends supplied too every month – a box (huge and unlimited weight) costs just $100 to transport over there by sea. Micaela and her family and friends have been donating items through this system – and when I heard about it we just had to help. So for our November packing day we packed 5 boxes – 216 DFG kits, all the clothing we had, school supplies, bras and toiletries. We filled them to the brim and as I write this – delivery is fairly close now….. and we are excited.
Evelyn has completed her Ambassador of Women’s Health training with Days for Girls so she will be able to distribute training and the kits to girls and women in her area – we are committed to supporting her for six months initially and will keep identifying how we can best help her. I cannot imagine living on a dump where people eek out a living from foraging, kids need gumboots otherwise their feet get infected, shelter is inadequate and management of a monthly period , toileting and even eating is primitive at best. Add to that a typoon in November where many people lost their dwellings and you can see what they face, everyday.
I am beyond grateful that we have wonderful teams around Australia who are able to assist in the provision of DFG kits – and have almost 1000 pledged for the Philippines. For the first time ever, I have been able to buy 1000 pair of underwear through our successful fundraising!! These undies will go into the kits (they are small girls size 8 to 10) and we will replace the undies of larger sizes so the girls can use the kits in total with the appropriate size undies.
In addition to the ‘normal’ we were very successful in holding two markets at Pearce, where we ran a craft market and we were able to not only donated the stall holders fees, but we sold our amazing tote bags and made enough funds to support the freight of the Philippines and Pakistan this year. This was such a relief, as the tote bags are very popular – but it is more than that – we use the stall to raise awareness and the ladies do a magnificent job!! I cannot begin to tell you how this has a flow on effect – donations of fabric, being asked to speak at events, new volunteers….I thank the 12 wonderful ladies who helped at the market (6 per day) – it was an astounding success and we are booked in for 4 markets next year. We even have our own EFTPOS machine now to take payments.
Lubna has had a number of health issues and of course COVID has caused a lot of problems in getting clothing, DFG kits and bras out to the women who need them in 2020. However, Lubna does travel as she is able and she has a huge stockpile for when things open up again.
We also donated a number of DFG kits to the WYAM ship to Papua New Guinea this year – Kerrie Huxham collects kits when she can, and we willingly assisted her with kits this year – as they say ‘Periods don’t pause for pandemics.’
While 2020 has been a huge challenge, I know that in the rest of the world where we serve, services are at breaking point. No medical assistance, financial security and no income, is something that they are dealing with everyday. I always keep in my mind that we are so fortunate to live where we do, and most of us have housing, something to eat and perhaps one of the best healthcare systems in the world. This drives me to assist others, and I know that you feel the call too! So from the bottom of my heart – thank you! For every stitch, donation, hour, and chat – we could not have done what we do, without you!
For 2021 we will be meeting on the 4th Sunday of the month – this will make it easier for everyone to remember and are already booked in at Pearce ACT – everyone is welcome. Shortly I will update the calendar and pop the link up here.
Thank you for your support, the cuppas and the humour! We have had an amazing year and I look forward to a fantastic 2021.
Good afternoon all – it is the end of June and I cannot believe this crazy year. As I write this 10 million people have tested positive around the world to COVID-19 and 500,000 people have died. This is a huge number, but even more so for our friends in developing countries and communities, where they cannot get the medical care or social service payments we are able to access in Australia. At this time please think of them, it is hard enough for us, but if you are poor with reduced health outcomes it is catastrophic.
I made the decision not to try to hold a sewing/packing day in June to protect everyone as things were only starting to open up again, and we must tread slowly through this time. But it hasn’t stopped the sewing and assembling – not by any means. People are picking up dress and shorts packs, days for girls sewing and looking at ways to keep things moving through this time.
That being said, this is also a time when people have told me they just haven’t been able to sew, it has been a very un-motivating time. So please take care of yourself – and just do what you need to do – we must look after our health and well-being, including our mental health. Sometimes we just need to be kind to ourselves – as a wise man said ‘It too will pass.’
We are at present planning the next sewing/packing day on the 26th July – 10am to 2pm all being well. Of course I will ensure that we are not placed at risk as your health is the most important to me at this time and we will rise to continue no matter what.
Drop off and pick up is busily humming away in both Pearce and Gordon – please feel free to take advantage of this whenever it suits you. There are all packs available at both locations.
You will probably notice that I have not done an end of year EOFY call out for donations. This was entirely intentional as I believe there is so much need in the world at the moment that it just felt inappropriate. We have enough finances currently to send 80 kilos in October to Pakistan and then we will see how everything goes. The sales of our market totes is a big contributor to our financial viability – but alas there have been no markets to sell these into lately – but I do have a number booked for the end of the year so hopefully we will sell lots! I am also going to ask a few businesses to stock them when I have a minute….
A couple of weeks ago I was given a donation from Mark and his sister from the sewing supplies that their Mum had left when she passed away. In the middle of their grief, these amazing people reached out and filled my car – which is extremely hard to do – to the roof with fabric. We donated it around charities in Canberra and the donation will help so many people it is incredible …. I am so grateful – that their gift will change so many lives in Canberra and beyond – their mother would be so proud.
This is what I messaged to Mark
Hi Mark Thank you for your delivery today I have sorted out the fabric that was your Mum’s and this is how it is being used. All polyester print fabric will be made into clothing by Pakistani women to send to women and girls in need in Pakistan. Zips-will be used for fiddle muffs for people with dementia Lining and stabilising fabrics for patchwork quilts for the elderly. Cotton fabric will be used for days for Girls and clothing for kids sent all over the world. Elastic … will be used for girls dresses and boys shorts. Interlock, ribbing and collars will be made into shorts, dresses, underwear and t shirts for children in the Congo. Fleecy fabric for the people at end of life in Canberra hospitals and hospices. Please let your sister know too your Mum’s gift has changed so many lives and will for the future We so appreciate the donation With regards Carol
Today I packed 8 boxes for the Solomon Islands – there is a domestic crisis service there and the women and children often leave their homes with nothing. So we are donating 3 boxes of bras, women’s underwear and camisoles plus 100 sets of clothing for kids. While we will not see their smiling faces in photos – it does my heart good to know that these women and children feel the love from Australia and hope that they will start again, stronger than before.
I also just want to say in closing how much I appreciate everything you do, no matter what we are still reaching women and kids who desperately need the items we make and together we make a difference. I have always thought our work was special – reaching so many people, because it isn’t only about the clothes or the kits, it is all about the kind hearts that sew, put things together, make components and help in a myriad of ways. I appreciate you all.
With much love Carol
This year is a strange one indeed and there is one thing for sure – safety of both our volunteers and countries we assist is our top priority. So with this in mind we are currently not having sewing and packing days but will resume in July – fingers and toes crossed.
What we are doing for the short term until we resume the monthly sewing and packing days is that we are doing pick ups and drop offs at SHOUT in Pearce ACT – this is working really well. We have nominated Mondays because it is easiest to have one day allocated but we have a large stock at SHOUT so we are definitely flexible on that.
One thing for sure is that ‘Periods don’t stop for pandemics’ The need is great and our work is essential – but while things are slow here – I expect we will have a lot to do as transport becomes available to countries.
Lubna has received a shipment to Pakistan in May and we have also sent another shipment in April – so there are a lot of clothes, days for girls kits, bras, hygiene products and school pencils etc to get out the the community when things calm down.
With this in mind we will not be sending another shipment in July to Pakistan – rather we have two shipments that we will get out as soon as we can:
The Philippines shipment is on hold at present until Tess has finished building her home so we will supply once they are needed.
As you may be aware we have been asked to make our kits plastic free so we needed to learn and make a travel bag and pack the components differently to what we are used too. This new way has made things easier in that the kits are more compact and we can fit more into the box – plus they are easier to identify the size from the outside.
Lastly – I want to thank everyone for still assisting where they can through this strange and challenging time – the need is great and we will be using resources to assist kids and women all over the world once things settle – I am so grateful for your help – together we do great things!!
With love – Carol
I have taken some time to get to this post as simply we have had so much thrown at us – in Canberra, Australia and the world recently it is hard to know where we could begin.
Here we are after what can only be viewed as the most crazy time we have ever lived through. It has been hard, more than hard, it has been sad too for most of us here in Canberra but devastating for Australia and the year continues to be challenging with Coronavirus Covid 19 affecting the worlds population.
Through the worst drought we barely kept things going when fires ravaged the lands we hold dear – our beautiful South Coast was devastated with people losing their lives and their homes and it was felt throughout NSW and Victoria too and up into Queensland.
Our land was tinder dry with 6 months of no rain – and the fires took hold and could not be stopped for over 5 weeks. The light at this time was the amazing ESA Commissioner Georgeina Wheelan who was our hero as she kept us calm and informed throughout the fires – it got so close to us – 12 km away and my home was in danger as we face paddock – there is nothing between.
Throughout this time we changed our sewing to meet the needs of thousands of native animals affected by fires, losing their parents, mobs and habitat – injured macropods (roos and wallabies), koalas, wombats, possums, gliders and bats – the Sew for A Girl team sewed bat wraps and mummy rolls for the bats, pouches for the joeys and hanging bags for the roos, wallabies and wombats. We sent 4 car loads of stock to the south cost, 6 boxes and 6 post packs around the eastern coast and inland of Australia. Many of us just wanted to do something!
We also supplied a number of organisations with clothing for their children who had lost their clothes in the fires, and for families affected by the terrible drought in both NSW and Queensland.
Then as we turned the corner in late January from the fire devastation we had a major hailstorm in Canberra, which wrote off 25000 cars with extensive hail damage – this caused people great difficulty with transport needs for their family and many have had to borrow to update a car that they were not expecting – causing financial distress.
And now Covid 19! We await to see how this changes out world – for this post at least we are working and running our businesses from home, self isolating as much as possible and the Sew for a Girl Team are sewing at home – we are unable to meet until the crisis has passed. Thank goodness for email and facebook which helps us stay connected with each other.
But on the bright side, and we must remember there is always a bright side – we have sent 95 kilos of Days for Girls Kits, school equipment and balls, toothbrushes and past and bras to Pakistan in January and at my door is another shipment due to be picked up this weekend. While it may take longer for the deliver to get to Lubna in Pakistan – it is happening and we will be in a different place in three months time.
Sew for a Girl Canberra will continue to sew and bring hope to those who are in most need within Australia and the wider community. Our sewers are sewing to ensure we are ready to assist when needed. In fact – I can probably say it is helping to keep us sane at the moment as the world seems in a strange and challenging period.
Just in closing I want to say how much I appreciate you all – you all are so important to this work, and you matter.
So please stay strong and stay safe.
With deep love and respect – Carol
Well its almost Christmas and we have extreme heat, fires 50 km away and Canberra is working under a cloud of smoke. Our Rural Fire Service is fighting the fires and like the heroes they are, they are exhausted. This led me to take the step to offer support through SHOUT (my paid job) and become a drop off point for donations to assist them in their work. We have been proud to support Convoy Missions Australia and assist them.
At times like these I also wonder about the wildlife and know there are so many critters injured who need help so I have roped in hubby and we have been sewing pouches for injured wildlife. We sent off 50 the other day and should have another 50 this week. So many volunteers doing great things.
I have decided to run a wildlife pouch sewing morning at SHOUT in Canberra for anyone who is interested – if you can’t sew – we have cutting and ironing and packing to do! Kids over 8 are welcome to get involved – it is simple stuff!! Please think of us and bring those old sheets, pillowcases and flannelette (fabric or sheets) … there will be patterns to take home too.
Wildlife Pouch Sewing Day
Tanzania has finally received clothing and cards – it has been a mammoth effort and when we were finally due to get them released – customs held on to them for 3 more weeks, despite payment – very frustrating. But the photos …. they make your heart melt!!
I have been looking for ways to assist the Australian Community for some time – and many of you know how frustrating this has been. I would love a great contact for our indigenous people but it has been really quite difficult to get any traction at all! But I finally have three amazing organisations that we are now donating too!
Drought Angels – accept our clothing as they need it – and love it!
Kids in Care in Canberra – were thrilled to get clothing for the 104 kids in care this Christmas – to make it brighter (and well dressed)
Roundabout Canberra – which accepts pre-loved clothing in great condition – and we give them our sewn clothing as they need it. Roundabout also donated sheets and pillow cases to our wildlife pouches production!!
Our stats this year are amazing and this is a testament to the needs of the community and the world – we are grateful to be part of this amazing journey to assist where we can.
So as we come to the Christmas Season – I would like to wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and a safe New Year. Thank you for all you do and as importantly for who you are – without you there wouldn’t be us! And we together make a difference to the world.
Hi everyone – I am finally looking at winding down for the Christmas break after a huge year ! 2019 really saw us trying to fit everything in and ensuring all went to plan…
We have had an amazing year and our stats are now reflecting what an enormous year this has been – we are all a bit tired and need a break. This year we have reached over 2000 kids from all over the globe and including some great contact in Australia: We sent:
The countries we sent to are:
As Australia is battling with drought and as I write this – bush fires in much of Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales we are finding new ways to support our country through our work.
We have had a huge amount of support from other organisations – we cannot thank you enough because every support assists us!! Supports include:
Without our volunteers – honestly we would not exist – our reach is substantial and growing every week – and everyone of you is appreciated. Our volunteers do amazing work including:
In particular there are the unseen heros of Sew for a Girl Canberra – the volunteers who work behind the scenes – and the families and friends who support us to do what we do! Many of us have a room full of fabric or in my case a garage and dining room! It takes love and patience to deal with this day in and day out without (much) complaint. We thank you.
As you may know – we are now going into our 4th year! I am particularly proud of what we have achieved – but even more so what we will achieve in 2020. Our goals are:
So from me to you all – thank you for the many ways you assist us – support our work and help us reach so many children and women around the globe. We are honoured to work with girls and women to make a difference in their lives and their future. On behalf of Sew for a Girl Canberra – I am deeply grateful to you all and your commitment and support enables me to continue to coordinate this amazing organisation to deliver clothes and DFG kits around the world.
With much love