Women im­prove girls’ lives with hy­giene kits

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By SAN­DRA HUNTER

Lisette Hulme’s emo­tive Days for Girls ad­dress at a re­cent Mata­mata In­ner Wheel ( IW) meet­ing gal­vanised the women’s ser­vice club into ac­tion in aid of their younger sis­ters in third world coun­tries.

Hulme told the group many im­pov­er­ished girls world­wide have no form of fem­i­nine hy­giene and dur­ing men­stru­a­tion have no choice but to stay home.

They miss out on vi­tal days at school or work. In­deed, some girls are shut away at home and can only hope some­one will bring them some food and wa­ter.

‘‘Some girls are so des­per­ate they use bark, grass, leaves – even stones,’’ Hulme told the group.

This can lead to in­fec­tion and dis­ease.

Poverty is also a con­se­quence as lack of ed­u­ca­tion re­duces earn­ing power; girls not at­tend­ing school are also at risk of be­ing mar­ried off and hav­ing ba­bies while they are still chil­dren them­selves.

In just three years, girls with­out hy­giene pro­tec­tion can lose eight months of their lives.

Hulme heard about the Days for Girls project – which pro­duces sus­tain­able hy­giene kits with a three­year life – at the re­cent Syd­ney-based Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion she at­tended with hus­band David, vice-pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Mata­mata.

In­cred­i­bly moved by the plight of the girls, Hulme de­cided to do her bit to­wards chang­ing the world one girl at a time, not only by bring­ing the mes­sage back to Mata­mata but also by ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing in­volve­ment through pro­duc­ing hy­giene kits, mak­ing do­na­tions to the cause or spread­ing the word.

Mata­mata In­ner Wheel swung into ac­tion with pres­i­dent Vera Farmilo at the helm and mem­ber Shirley Frew, for­mer Mata­mata Col­lege home eco­nomics teacher, driv­ing the prac­ti­cal as­pects of the project.

The col­lege sewing room proved a per­fect project venue and IW mem­bers and sup­port­ers spent a re­cent Satur­day sewing kits com­pris­ing two shields which fas­ten into panties, and eight lin­ers, all eas­ily laun­dered. Th­ese will be de­liv­ered to about 50 girls who will also re­ceive a draw- string bag which in­cludes a pair of undies, a face­cloth, two zi­plock bags – which can be used for wash­ing the shields and lin­ers – and soap.

Farmilo was thrilled with the project’s suc­cess and said it fit­ted ad­mirably with IW’s in­ter­na­tional theme, Light the Path.

‘‘Days for Girls res­onates with women ev­ery­where,’’ she said.

‘‘It is a priv­i­lege to be able to make a dif­fer­ence in young girls’ lives by em­pow­er­ing them and restor­ing their dig­nity – I com­mend Lisette for her ini­tia­tive.’’

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