Timeabu Teens: When we got our periods, we used to go hungry

SHI Executive Director Nora Tobin and seamstress Gail Stelmacher with Timeabu Teen Girls Club, February 2017

Having the Days for Girls kits saves us money,” Mariatu said.

Yes,” Windolina chimed in, “I used to have to use my lunch money to buy pads. Now I don’t need to anymore.”

Then Kadija and Fridaus and Salamatu and one girl after the next stood up and repeated the same thing: now that they have reusable cloth pads, they get to eat lunch every day — even when they have their periods.

When I joined Self-Help three years ago, I never imagined that I would be sitting in a church in rural Ghana, meeting with a village chief, local headmaster, teen girls and their mothers (and my mother who came with me this trip!) discussing periods. But that’s exactly how I spent last Thursday.

The last time I’d been in Timeabu in September, we taught a women’s health class, and answered questions like, “Is it safe to eat eggs when you have your period?” We distributed Days for Girls reusable feminine hygiene kits to the girls so they wouldn’t have to skip school for days at a time each month; so they wouldn’t have to go hungry just because they were young women.

Last week, we returned to listen and learn how things were going. It was unanimous: the girls love the kits, and their mothers are clamoring to have kits for themselves too! More than that: they love the Teen Girls Club, and yes, their mothers – and the chief – do too.

“The girls in this community are more respectful of their elders now,” Ayishetu shared. “Now, when I am carrying produce back from the farm, the ones in the Teens Club stop me and carry the load for me…I don’t even have daughters, but I came to testify that the club is good, and is should stay!”

I couldn’t agree more. We started the club last September as a pilot project, and after hearing from mothers, teachers, the chief, and the girls themselves, it’s clear that the club is helping the girls not only stay in school, but also develop life skills to help them achieve self-sufficiency.

Will you let us turn your $10 donation into $10,000?
Our partners at GlobalGiving heard about our Teen Girls Club and have invited us to compete for $10,000 in funding through their Girl Fund! If our Teen Girls Club is one of the top four projects with the most number of donors by March 15, we’ll win funding for the teens clubs for the year!

Help us win funding to keep the Teen Girls Club going strong by donating $10 (or more!) to our project on GlobalGiving’s website: Stop Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School

All donations will support our Teens Club in Ghana, and winning the funding isn’t about the total amount raised, it’s about getting the highest number of unique donations by March 15, 2017, so every gift counts, no matter the sizeCheck out the leaderboard to see where we stand!

Will you donate $10 today to show your support for empowering girls like Windolina and her friends?

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