In many cultures around the world, including Africa, girls are often not valued very highly. It is just the way it is, and has been for centuries.
How can this change?
There ARE solutions, and Bookfriends is working on an initiative to encourage the girls to remain in their classrooms consistently simply by having monthly hygiene supplies. By staying in school, they are able to continue receiving an education. Education can change their lives dramatically.
The educated female students, in turn, are more valued by their families and communities. As the young women display their capabilities, they are appreciated more than ever by their peers as well. Additionally, the great increase in their self-esteem as educated young ladies gives the girls aspiration and visions for a healthy and productive future.
If a girl can remain in school all month, she won’t fall behind in her classes. If she stays home for a week per month, she may not be allowed by her family to return. She will have less risk of becoming a victim of sex trafficking if she can remain in school.
It is the power of education changing lives in very positive directions!
Bookfriends is now providing menstrual hygiene kits for the African female students.
Each menstrual hygiene kit consists of:
- Two pads — reusable, washable
- One pair of underwear *
- One quart size durable plastic zipper bag **
- An informational, encouraging brochure
- Reusable cloth pouch
Each container of books that we ship serves 10 schools, in which there are approximately 4,000 female students. This requires at least 4,000 kits for each shipment.
Bookfriends has volunteers from across the country who cut, sew and assemble the kits.
We need more help in order to provide one kit per student.
We invite you to help. You can cut and/or sew with your sewing group, with a group of friends, or individually in your home. All ages and skill levels are welcome.
If you are interested in helping, please contact Bookfriends. We will provide you with a beginner’s kit and complete instructions.
COMMUNITY PROJECT – The Crystal Lake Area Branch Of American Association of University Women members and friends are making re-usable menstrual pads for Bookfriends International, NFP, which distributes them to school girls in Africa. The project’s goal is to enable girls to attend school more consistently. Pictured with Paulie Kutschat, a founder of Bookfriends, (front row, from left) are Paulie Kutschat, Jan Pizzo and Chris Kraft; and (back row, from left) Barbara Pagano, Kathy Stone, Laurie Pohl, Sandi Hall, Paula Ekstrom and Carol Heisler.
Teen girls from Quest Academy, Palatine, Illinois volunteer to assemble the contents of the hygiene kits.
Donations of underwear and quart size zipper plastic bags are also needed. Please read below for details.
* Underwear – girls’ sizes 12, 14, and 16 and women’s sizes 6 and 7. Underwear should be cotton, sturdy and brief style. No thongs or bikinis.
** One quart size durable zipper plastic bags.
Of course, monetary donations are always helpful for this project as well. Thank you.
Contact Bookfriends for a mailing address and donation receipt – for donations of pads, kits and/or underwear.
The hygiene kits have arrived in southwest Kenya schools and are given to female students.