Our mission trip this year was another great step forward for the Days for Girls Enterprise , based at the Women’s Center at the Anglican Cathedral in Toliara. When we visited in 2016, we taught many women to sew the kits, but did not have time to address marketing as well.
This year’s visit gave us the opportunity to translate into Malagasy the Days for Girls lessons on female health and hygiene. We were then able to train around 35 women, from all parts of the Diocese of Toliara, to go out into the community and teach these lessons to others, and explain the benefits of the Days for Girls washable feminine hygiene kits.
The women were able to practice what they learned in class by teaching at various distributions in Toliara and Fort Dauphin areas. Over 900 women and girls (and a few men) heard the teachings. Over the four weeks, we distributed 437 kits in 13 churches and villages, 6 medical clinics and 1 school. (School exams and vacations meant we could not go into more schools).
At the end of the first week’s training, Ms. Harisoa was appointed DfG Assistant Coordinator at the Women’s Center for one year. We are hoping that this will enable the Enterprise to grow and many more kits to be distributed. She is a brave young woman, happy to demonstrate the ease of running and dancing while wearing a kit! Reports back from the women, who have had the kits for 2 years, were very positive. They love the fact that the plastic barrier prevents leaks and stains showing through.
Harisoa on left in red trousers
We have been contacted by a Toliara business, which is talking of ordering 100 kits a month to be made by the enterprise, which will mean we can offer regular employment to women. If this is successful, we will then contact other businesses to see if they would like to follow suit.
We were also able to meet with representative of two UK not-for-profits: Blue Ventures (blueventures.org) and SEED Madagascar (madagascar.co.uk/projects/community-health) both of whom have community health programmes which dovetail nicely with the work we are doing with Days for Girls. SEED also has an embroidery project which sells internationally, and we are exploring the possibility of collaborating with them in relation to the paper bead products that are made at the Cathedral.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support which made this trip possible!