Warren Te Brugge is the founder of My Arms Wide Open, a Vancouver based foundation working with women, children and youth in South Africa. Pads4Girls is currently raising funds to provide My Arms Wide Open with Pads4Girls Kits for 1,500 girls in the communities of Bergnek, Limpopo and Cradock, Eastern Cape in South Africa. To donate to the My Arms Wide Open Pads4Girls fund click here.
What is your organization’s mission/mandate?
My Arms Wide Open® Foundation provides support for mothers, children, and youth to build sustainable communities and responsible businesses. Our purpose is to rebuild communities through supporting mothers, children and youth to break the chain of their parents’ past prejudice, to create community and preserve their culture.
What involvement have you had with Pads4Girls?
As an organization and for me personally, we at My Arms Wide Open believe in the power of women and the feminine energy it will take to heal this planet of ours. I was fortunate enough to meet Lunapads founders, Suzanne and Madeleine at in September 2010 and was immediately taken with their passion for life, woman and the environment. I made a decision right there to support them and the Lunapads and Pads4Girls business in every way I could. Our current initiative involves raising funds to supply 1,500 girls with washable feminine hygiene products by June 2012.
How does the work that you do impact the lives and futures of girls and women and their communities as a whole?
The work we do is focused on creating equality, empowerment and support for woman and children in the communities we work in. One of the biggest challenges the girls face in these communities is having the menstrual products they need to be able to stay in school and have the same opportunities boys have simply by being at school every day because they have the menstrual products they need. We include both boys and girls in our education programs and in identifying girls in need and distributing the products. It is wonderful to see the genuine sharing, compassion and concern that takes place when all are involved and the cultural barriers are lowered around the discussion. Education and inclusiveness is key.
What message do you want to share to help people understand the value of educating girls in general, or the value of educating girls about their bodies/menstruation?
Girls should not have to miss out on the opportunities in their lives to grow and learn simply because they don’t have the menstrual products they need and deserve. Children should ALL have access to the same opportunities. Menstruation is an experience all people and men in particular should respect and cherish, for right at the completion of this monthly experience is the place and circumstance from which the lives of our future children in the world have the opportunity to spark and ultimately be born into our world and our communities. Simply that ‘event’ called menstruation is a key factor in our lives. If it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with the amazing people I get to work with in our communities because I simply wouldn’t be.