A “Walk for the Girls” along Coogee Beach on Sunday will raise funds for local volunteers who sew washable menstrual kits for disadvantaged women around the world.
For the past five years, a motley crew of women from Greater Fremantle have been sewing thousands of menstrual kits for women and girls in refugee camps and countries where they don’t have easy access to sanitary products, forcing them to miss school or work because of their period. The local group of sewers, affectionately known as ‘Daisies’, was put together by high school teacher Gail Michael.
“As a teacher, the health education component is important, also these kits enable girls to attend school every day, instead of missing one week of every month because of a natural body process,” she says.
“An African proverb says ‘If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.’”
The group make about 350 kits a year, with each one taking six hours to make and costing $30.
The kit contains two pairs of knickers, small soap, washcloth, drawstring carry bag, wash bag, two moisture proof shields and eight liners.
“In the last year we have sent 200 kits to World Vision for distribution, 100 to Borderless Friendship Foundation for distribution at their hostels in Northern Thailand and 100 to the Sago network for distribution in Papua New Guinea,” Michael says.
The volunteer group are part of Days for Girls Australia, a non-government organisation that works to increase access to menstrual care and education around the world.
For the past 11 years, the organisation has helped more than 300,000 girls and women in 63 countries.
Michael says she was inspired to form her own sewing group south of the river – Fremantle Days for Girls – after attending a Days for Girls ‘Sew Day’ in the eastern suburbs.
“I asked my friends and other teachers if they would be interested and most of these are still my core group of Daisies,” she says.
“People come and go from the group and we are happy to welcome new Daisies for however long they want to stay with us.”
Funds raised from Sunday’s charity walk will be used to purchase materials for the kits including flannelette and quilting fabrics, threads, waterproof lining fabric, snaps and washcloths.
“We want these kits to be washable, quick drying, and ultimately decompostable. They last between three and five years,” Michael says. The fundraising walk starts at the Poore Grove grassed area beside Coogee Beach Surf Life Saving Club at 9am tomorrow (Sunday October 15) with a choice of a 3.3km or 7.8km loop through Woodman Point Regional Park.
To register go to trybooking.com/CJRIJ or to donate or become a “Daisy” email email@example.com. A donation of $25 will restore days of school, work, health and dignity to a girl for three to five years.