Friday, October 9, 2020

OCTOBER 2020

UPDATES ON BEIRUT PROJECT


Huge thanks to Becky and her husband who drove complete kits from the Medford, Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield Chapters to the collection center in Utah! 

Boxes of kits from Medford with our nine bags


Kits from Central Oregon, Medford and
Eugene/Springfield, delivered in Utah.



Then I heard from one of the other collection centers that they were short on bags, so I mailed off a bunch to them, and then the third center reported being short on undies and Ziplocs, so we helped with those too.  Nine big bags full of kits by highway, and three large flat rate boxes by mail.  Thank you all for the ways you contributed to this!  

What a great DFG-wide effort this was.  So many kits were donated that Americares didn't have space to ship them all to Beirut.  Consequently, our efforts will also benefit women and girls in Honduras and elsewhere:


Since August 8th 2020, DFG volunteers and supporters have...

Fundraised $26,414.48 USD 

Ordered 2000 DfG Kits and 3500 masks from the DfG Lebanon Enterprises  run by Syrian Refugees for the emergency response 

Collected 27,755 DfG Kits from 186 Chapters and Teams: 

• 12,565 Kits have been shipped to Lebanon for emergency and humanitarian response  led by DfG Lebanon 

• 5,880 Kits have been shipped to Honduras for COVID-19 response 

• 9,310 Kits have been shipped to Americares. They are assessing the needs of their in country partners and will be selecting the locations most in need to receive these Kits.  

Together, we are bringing comfort and dignity to women and girls during this challenging time. 

Thank you for being adaptive, creative, and collaborative. It’s truly  incredible what we can achieve when we all work together! 


Please realize that what this means is that the generosity of DFG volunteers was way underestimated!  It's wonderful that so more women than hoped for will receive kits.  I'm very proud that we were able to be a part of this effort.  Periods don't stop for pandemics, and I think we were all relieved that we could be a part of getting kits in the hands of women and girls in need, even with all the other challenges of 2020.


IN CHINA


Nice article about some girls working to end period poverty in one of the poorest parts of China.  

IN VANATU

Volunteers are stepping up to change the world for women and girls – especially in the face of crisis.
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Today's example comes from the frontlines of Vanuatu: the Pacific Island Nation that was struck by category 5 Cyclone Harold in April. 🇻🇺 It was the second strongest cyclone to ever hit in the country.
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Homes were destroyed. Families displaced. And menstruators – now burdened by a pandemic AND a natural disaster – struggled to meet basic needs.
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That’s when DfG Australia Chapters and Teams made magic happen! Despite dealing with their own lockdown, volunteers mobilized in a matter of days to reach women and girls on the island with 𝟑,𝟑𝟎𝟎 𝐊𝐢𝐭𝐬 in partnership with

WHAT'S NEXT?

Well, our operations are certainly different than they were pre-pandemic.  Some of us are still plugging away on components.  My back-of-driveway porch has seen many socially distanced handoffs and returns of work to and from you wonderful volunteers who are able to continue to work on kit components at home.

Let me know if you have time and interest in doing some tasks at home.  It's not nearly as fun as gathering at Our Sewing Room, but our goal is the same.  

OCTOBER 11

It's that time again--The International Day of the Girl!  Might I suggest you celebrate by doing something that will benefit a less-fortunate girl somewhere in the world?  If you choose to do that through Days for Girls and want to  make a contribution to our Eugene Chapter . . . you can  make a contribution by check (email me for address), or online here.  Receipts available either way!  Donations of underwear are always welcome--Girls' sizes 10-16, Women's 5-7. (No bikini/thong/boy shorts styles) Let's make every day The International Day of the Girl!


Sunday, August 9, 2020

BEIRUT

BEIRUT, LEBANON NEEDS OUR HELP


With 300,000 people displaced, the need is great.  There are a few ways you can help get kits into the hands of the women and girls who need them:
  • Make a financial donation that will sponsor kits from the DfG Enterprises in Lebanon.  The goal is $10,000 immediately for 1000 kits.
  • Find somebody who'd be able to drive a van-full of kits contributed by Eugene and other Oregon teams and chapters to the collection center in Utah.  Of course any size vehicle is helpful, but I think already 4 chapters in Oregon have said they'd contribute kits if we can get the kits a ride, so we can easily fill a van.  They need to be in Centerville, Utah by August 21.
  • Make a financial donation to our chapter to help with gas (and possibly a rental van) or postage getting our kits to the collection point in Utah.

The kits contributed from U.S. chapters and teams will be placed on the Emergency Americares shipment to Lebanon. Any additional Kits beyond what can fit on the Americares shipment, will be allocated to other countries where Americares works with partners who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE! We had a wonderful volunteer step up to drive kits to Utah. Donations for gas money appreciated!

WE LOVE THE FEEDBACK!

Neema Namadamu, Head of our Maman Shujaa Enterprise in Democratic Republic of Congo, said it best:

The DfG Kit is so much more than a period product! It’s a pathway to 𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐲, 𝐝𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲; a slayer of harmful stigmas and taboos. Something beautiful and dependable that a girl can rely on day after day. A tool for celebrating the journey into womanhood.  (Spacing is wonky--keep scrolling after this photo)

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says '"[These pads] have become a stigma eraser, a confidence builder, and a Girl Power enabler."'

THE VALUE OF EDUCATION

Days for Girls International

17 hrs

Did you know? Education was declared a universal human right 𝟕𝟎 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨. Yet countless girls today 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 face barriers to staying in school, including (but not limited to) menstrual inequity:

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🌼 In India, 23% of girls drop out of school because they lack access to toilets and sanitary pads.

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🌼 A study in Ethiopia reported that 56% of girls were absent from school because they did not have menstrual health supplies.

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🌼 Another study in Bangladesh showed that 42% of girls reported missing at least one day of school a month due to menstruation. 

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#Periodpoverty and school absenteeism are undeniably linked – and our calling is to shift this harmful paradigm on a global scale. 𝐖𝐞'𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐧 𝐄𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐥, and on the path to their best and brightest future. 

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Who’s with us? 🙋‍♀️ #MenstrualHealthMonday

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, text that says '"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela'



Thursday, July 30, 2020

SUMMER 2020

WHAT A YEAR!


Out of caution, and in hopes that our decisions will help this be over soon, our chapter has not had any in-person gatherings since February.  This will continue until further notice.  Please stay safe and well.

My 2020 plate has been filled with unexpected and frustrating surprises.  I'm hopefully near the end of the months-long inconveniences caused by a plumbing malfunction,  Flooring has been replaced in three rooms, damaged walls repaired, and little by little furniture and boxes of fabric and sewing supplies are making their way back into places where I can access them.

 Some of you have made masks, through Days for Girls, another group, or just for your friends and families.  I think this need will continue. Do let me know if you need supplies.

Some of you continue sewing our kit components at home.   I'm happy to prepare homework for interested folks.

A large majority of would-be travelers worldwide are staying off airplanes, meaning our kits and supplies aren't getting to their recipients when we'd expected.   Once the travel doors open again, we'll be ready.

NEW POLICY

Days for Girls has a new policy about not sending kits to areas where there is a Days for Girls Enterprise that could fill the request.  We've always said that our goal is to put ourselves out of business.  This will mean we won't be providing kits in competition with local DfG Enterprises, who rely on filling those requests to support themselves, and are well trained to provide the education piece in the native language. It's wonderful for them to create successful business models while educating and providing kits for girls and women in their areas.

ANCIENT WAYS

As mentioned earlier, we had a request for volunteers to make masks out of some African fabrics.  These are being made available as a fundraiser to help a community in Zimbabwe deal with Covid-19.  I spent several days cutting African fabrics, finding and cutting coordinating fabric for linings and ties, as well as lightweight interfacing for these masks.  Thanks to those of you who picked up kits to make masks for this project.  You can see info on the Ancient Ways website

GREAT INTERVIEW

Celeste Mergens, the founder and head of Days for Girls is interviewed by an Australian on this podcast.  It's informative and heartwarming . . . and long.  Carve out some time, get comfortable, and be encouraged by the impact of what we do.  It's here.

IT'S ALMOST TIME!

Yes, I know you've been anticipating since last year  . . . August 5 is National Underwear Day!  This is a time of year that stores like Target and Walmart usually have their back-to-school undies sales, or sometimes later in the month.  Some years we've been able to get girls' panties for 50¢ a pair in special bonus packs.  Women's prices under a dollar each are good.  We use girls' sizes 10 to 16, and women's up to size 5 to 7. Styles that work with our shields are bikini, briefs and hipsters (no boy shorts or thongs).  The darker the color, the better, but they can be dyed.  We avoid prints with animals.  Many packs of girls' undies come with prints depicting animals, and those end up donated to or swapped with another nonprofit.

Keep your eyes open for online sales!  Or in-store if you're brave enough.

REFUGEE PROJECT

Remember the 527 kits we contributed to go to refugees in four countries last fall?  Here's a report on those distributions:


Refugee Project Update

Last year, Chapters and Teams collectively contributed 46,571 DfG Kits to the Chapter and Team Refugee Project. We're excited to share an update below.

 
DfG Lebanon 
In collaboration with the 3 DfG Lebanon Enterprises, Chapters and Teams sent 4500 DfG Kits to Lebanon. An additional 2050 Kits were purchased from the Enterprises with the funds raised and a grant from Goldman Sachs, taking the total to 6530 DfG Kits.


 


Distributions were impacted by political unrest and then by COVID-19. Despite this, Lebanon Country Coordinator Khayrieh and the Enterprise Leaders adapted and have continued distributions in partnership with several local organizations and UNFPA, following all local protocols, including smaller groups, social distancing, and hygiene and safety precautions.

 

In addition, the Enterprises have also been receiving orders from several organizations in Lebanon including Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, and ReHope Korea, increasing the number of refugees receiving DfG Kits and education. They also pivoted to the needs within their community, adding masks to their production. To date they have sewn and sold over 1000 masks!

Below are some photos of DfG Lebanon in action distributing Chapters and Teams Kits to Syrian refugees (the first two photos are pre-COVID-19).

                
                 
                

A video and thank you message from DfG Lebanon Enterprise Leaders! You can follow the DfG Lebanon facebook page HERE for updates.



World Vision

We collectively contributed 42,071 DfG Kits to World Vision in Australia, Canada, and the US. They planned to send the Kits to Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Somalia. Due to the high volume of Kits received, they were able to add a fourth location, also sending DfG Kits to Iraq!





Afghanistan
The DfG Kits have arrived in Afghanistan and the World Vision Field Teams have begun distributing them. They have received very positive feedback.

“I didn’t know how important menstrual hygiene management was. I have never talked to anyone about it due to shame.  In the past, I felt I was filthy and that this blood was a sign of impurity because I had no idea what this blood was for and why we had to experience it for 7 days per month. Now I know how to take care of my body and no longer experience shame from menstruation because it is a sign of a healthy body.” - 15-year-old Kit recipient.

You can read the full impact article HERE. DfG was also highlighted as World Vision's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene partner in THIS article.
 

Somalia
After shipping delays, the Kits have arrived and the World Vision Field Teams are about to begin distributions.

South Sudan and Iraq
Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the Kits are currently stuck at customs. The World Vision Field Teams are working hard to get them released and are at the ready to begin distributing them. They have reported that they are needed now more than ever.

We will continue to provide updates, photos, and videos as things progress! Thank you to all who contributed to making this project a reality. What a difference YOU have made!




Tuesday, April 28, 2020

NO FIRST SATURDAY WORKDAY IN MAY

CAHOOTS/WHITE BIRD CLINIC


Arlo, the office manager at Cahoots has reached out requesting mask makers.  They'd like you to use the Belgian pattern, but use surgical wrap for the outside layer.  They'll provide that.  They request that you plan to pick up the wrap between 10am and noon, and to call first to make sure they haven't run out of supplies.  Their letter is below:  

Hello everyone! 

If we haven't met yet, my name is Arlo; I am the office manager at CAHOOTS. I am also the resident crafty person at White Bird. You have all expressed interest in sewing handmade masks, which is amazing!! I wanted to reach out to everyone in one thread to keep things streamlined. 


These masks will be used for patients and potentially exposed folks, who will need to keep a mask on at all times to prevent those around them from risking exposure to the virus. Our medical folks have a specific way they want these to be made so that we actually use them. The #1 key to this is materials! 
   -The outer layer needs to be fluid-repellent. If you have access to other breathable and water repellent products, that's great.Otherwise, we will have SURGICAL WRAPS available for pickup at our main clinic, 341 e 12th ave, for folks to cut up and use as the outer layer. These are fluid and bacteria resistant, and have a non-woven structure. I personally am using these. 
   -We are asking folks to use whatever woven cotton material they have on hand to use as the lining layer and straps. I am using whatever bias binding and twill tape I have on hand to make straps but you can easily use cotton fabric as well. We are asking folks not to use elastic, as it both breaks down under heat and usually contains latex which can cause allergic reactions.
   -I will personally handle cutting and inserting the filter material; we are using vacuum bags, but we only need sewing folks to create the masks that these filters will be inserted into. 

I have attached a pattern and detailed instructions that I would like us all to use, to keep things consistent. There are large, small, and child sizes included, but we do not currently have a demand for child-size masks so we are only making adult small and large sizes. I find that the large mask is more universal, as even if you have a small face you can tie it tight and wear goggles (or glasses in a pinch) over the nose bridge to seal everything in. If you feel able to, adding a simple channel to the middle third of the top edge allows us to insert an optional wire that serves a similar purpose. 

Materials Pick-up: Call the main clinic between 9-5 any day of the week and ask them when would be a good time to come pick up surgical wraps for mask making. They will instruct you from there. Sanitary pickup of donations and materials has been going very smoothly at 341, so please rest assured that we have your safety in mind. If you absolutely cannot pick them up we have limited ability to deliver; our facilities folks have graciously offered about 20 minutes a day they can devote to this. Text me at 503-807-5104 if you need help with this.

WHEN THE MASKS ARE COMPLETED, please wash them one last time before packaging them up, but know that they will also be sterilized before use. Please drop them back at 341 e 12th, preferably with a little note that explains that they were made under the guidance of Arlo and fit the specifications we set for this project.

If you have questions, please text me at the number below. If you plan to participate, please respond to this thread and I will help facilitate pickup of materials. Thanks for putting your energy into this and for caring about our community! 

Best,

Arlo Silver
CAHOOTS Office Manager
White Bird Clinic
(541)-342-8255 ext. 140

Most recent email: 
 Hello Mask Folks,
I hope this find you well. If anyone has future plans to pick up materials at our main clinic (341 E 12th Ave), the team has asked that pickups be limited to 10am-12pm daily from today onward. Please still call ahead at 541-341-8255 to make sure they are ready for you and have supplies stocked. 

This is where you'll find the Belgian pattern that Arlo is requesting, and in my blog post  of 3/29 (Much more about masks) has more info.   


They've since posted that they're happy to take any style you make!

PANTYHOSE!


Interesting article from NPR.  I'm going to try this if I can find an old pair in the back of some drawer!

DAILY EMERALD


Here's an article in the Daily Emerald about all the masks being made in our area.  I hope many of you are still making them, as the need continues.  Remember to let me know if there are supplies I can provide.  If you'd like your finished masks picked up, this group does that too.

NO WORKDAY IN MAY EITHER


What a strange and horrible year 2020 has been.  I hope you're all being as careful as possible.  We won't be gathering to meet this first Saturday, but of course I encourage you to work individually at home.  We've had people doing various kit-making tasks at home, and of course many of you are making masks too.  Let me know if you'd like some homework (contact-free handoffs)!  


ANOTHER STUDY OF MOST EFFECTIVE MATERIALS