She arrives wearing a bright orange T-shirt and carrying an overstuffed brightly colored backpack. Both the members of ACCT and the children from Matugga are curious to see what is inside this backpack. We take our seats in a circle around her filling more than 24 chairs. She introduces herself and starts the presentation with a question. What is hygiene? She asks. We look around the circle at each other waiting for someone to give her an answer. One of the girls speaks up somewhat timidly and the presenter brightly encourages her with her answer. She expands on the concept of hygiene and the lecture continues in a question and answer fashion actively listening audience participation. We cover topics including feminine hygiene, puberty and body changes for both boys and girls. She presents these body changes in a very positive fashion and makes us all feel good about our own bodies. With clear and concise visuals, we talk about the menstrual cycle in detail. We also discussed how babies are made. Next, she talks about personal safety and encourages the young women to pay attention to their surroundings and to speak out if something bad happens to them. We take a short break to stand up and move around and realize that half the day has past already.
When we resume our session, she opens the backpack and begins to pass around pieces of red and blue flannel. Next, she passes around chalk and then needles and thread. We are going to sew our own feminine hygiene kits by hand. I am a little bit surprised to see that all the girls know how to thread their own needle and tie a knot and can start sewing. I quickly do the same however unfortunately I was not listening closely to the instructions and I have to take out part of my sewing. The girls around me look at me somewhat sympathetically and continue with their sewing. We make the pads first and then we talk about the shield and the special plastic that is included with it. Finally, we sew a drawstring bag. It has been a long day of lecture and instruction but the session was also very informative and effective. I’m pleased that the girls have learned so much and the instructor has been so thorough in her presentation.
We had a presentation like this for the young women at Matugga and the young women at Buwala. We look forward to more sessions which will include soap making and also a presentation for the boys.
Days for Girls has started a program in which they send an instructor out to the local communities to teach how to make the kits and also marketing. This will be a wonderful thing for the young people in our homes to learn.