When CWL chose the charity Days for Girls as its 2020 Mission at Home Charity, we embarked on a steep learning curve. We discovered that for many years period poverty has been a hidden problem impacting negatively on the lives of many women and girls within NZ
The extent of the problem surprised many including the Wellington Archdiocesan President, Susan Lloyd. Susan was horrified to discover that girls in her local community of The Hutt Valley, were missing school regularly because their families could not afford period products. Always one up for a challenge, Susan contacted Days for Girls to learn more and find a way to offer practical help.
Days for Girls NZ is a registered not-for-profit in New Zealand. They are relatively small but volunteers across New Zealand work to increase access to reusable and sustainable menstrual products and vital health information for women and girls. They hold sewing workshops and provide Days for Girls Kits to schools.
Susan enlisted the help of her branch and the Wellington Diocesan Council and wrote to the principals of Catholic schools within the Hutt Valley district. She offered to work with the schools to introduce the Days for Girls programme.
Seven Catholic schools with Year 7/8 students took up the offer. The Positive Puberty Project was born.
So far, 154 kits have been distributed. Each kit contains brightly coloured cotton, reusable, sustainable pads, waterproof liners, a washing bag, and a bar of soap all in a handy drawstring bag. Before being given their kits, the girls take part in a fun education session about puberty and how to use their kits.
CWL members enthusiastically put their sewing skills to good use joining others at Days for Girls workshops learning how to make the items for the kits.
The first round of CWL, school, and Days for Girls collaborations are so successful that Susan is committing to the long term and is planning to extend the programme to more schools during 2021.