Stitching Hygiene Kits So Girls Can Stay In School: Volunteers Marking Third Year Of Day For Girls

By Tammy Ayer
Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In many parts of the developing world, where access to tampons and pads is limited or nonexistent, girls are often forced to stay home when they get their period, losing a week of school each month. The non-profit “Days for Girls International” is doing everything it can to change that.

YAKIMA, Wash.

Dan Corbett held up piece of tie-dyed cotton rich with deep hues of purple, blue, green and gold.

“This is a beautiful fabric,” he said as he sat at a sewing machine surrounded by more swatches and others busy at their sewing machines in the pastoral center near Holy Family Catholic Church.

Corbett and wife Benita were among about a dozen people who gathered Wednesday to create drawstring bags that would hold hygiene kits sent to girls in countries around the world.

The washable feminine hygiene kits they help make for Days for Girls ensures that young women can stay in school during their period — an opportunity that can change their lives.

Celeste Mergens founded Days for Girls International in 2008 after her work in Kenya led her to wonder what girls were doing for feminine hygiene. The nonprofit has reached more than 1 million women and girls in more than 116 countries with hygiene kits and menstrual health education, according to its website, www.daysforgirls.org.

Those kits include more than 5,000 that volunteers with the Days for Girls Yakima Team have created and assembled since organizer Toni McBean founded the local group three years ago this month. The team will celebrate its third anniversary and make more kits during a special event Saturday at the Harman Center in Yakima.

“It’s a great humanitarian project … with most of the work being done at home by ladies of all ages,” McBean said. “It has just grown tremendously in the Yakima Valley.”

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