Anna Ebert wrote to us in March of 2012 to inquire whether we might be able to supply 50,000 Pads4Girls Kits. We were amazed! It has taken some time to work out all the details, however we are thrilled to announce that distribution of 10,000 "Transformation Textiles" (pads and underwear made from waste fabric from mass-scale garment production) Kits will commence early in 2014.
Here's Anna's story about her work in Malawi and why she contacted us:
"I work amongst the Tumbuka tribe in northern Malawi. There are approximately 1.4 million people there. I feel they're a forgotten people; difficult to reach - but not impossible.
I watch the women carry 50 lbs of water on their heads with a baby on their back for who knows how far - and that's twice a day because that's all they're able to do. Yes, they're strong, but it's still more work than anyone should have to do every day! Their backs hurt. I know, because many women have come to me for help to relieve their pain. Then I see the sickness caused by the contaminated water they carry to their homes, and the tragedy after tragedy that happens because of the loss of their young children due to the bad water. Their hearts ache. They grieve the same as we do. They're Moms who love their children. They do their utmost but can do no more. So I go to fix wells. Many, many wells.
Here's an excerpt from the lengthy document she sent me detailing the hundreds of wells and boreholes she has had built throughout Malawi, as well as the dawn of her awareness of the issue with girls’ lack of access to menstrual supplies:
“Last summer, I asked each community we visited to fill out a survey. One of the question was "How many girls in your village miss school because they don't have underwear or menstrual pads? and if they were provided with them, would they then go back to school?" I found that on average in EACH village there were 155 girls not going to school for this reason. That's huge! I was not aware that this was such a problem. These girls drop out because they're embarrassed and mocked at school when they have their periods, and so they refuse to go back.
So they stay home, and what happens? They get pregnant and the poverty cycle starts all over again. By providing these girls with menstrual supplies, they'll be able to go back to school and complete their education - giving them an opportunity to reach higher goals and escape poverty. But there are so many, many girls. I started searching the web. I emailed various companies for help. However, none of my emails were answered. One day, I shared my frustrations with a friend and received this email from her:
"Hi Anna, I came across this website tonight and thought of your concern for the girls in Malawi once they start menstruating. Not sure if you've heard of this company or not but thought I'd forward on the information for you to check out anyway.
I and my Malawian team will be going into their villages to fix their wells and now we also want to distribute the menstrual supplies they so desperately need. However, we need the supplies to get to us. You can help make this happen by making a donation. Every bit of your donation will go directly to bringing these supplies to them. How simple is that! What an opportunity it brings. A chance to make a change. Thank you for your support, your partnership, your love for these girls. And a huge thank you to Lunapads and Pads4Girls for making this a possibility!"
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Giving up the plastic straw? Great.
Don't stop there.