Women improve girls’ lives with hygiene kits
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.’’