Student stitchers reach out to vulnerable girls globally
Cire Community School’s reach has gone global with a group of students enthusiastically supporting the Days for Girls Project, an international social enterprise making menstrual kits for distribution in developing countries.
Launched at the school earlier this year, the initiative has also opened the doors of opportunity for the students in the form of new skills, teamwork, confidence, and learning about social enterprises and bringing about positive change, as well as some of the challenges faced by their peers in other countries.
Whilst the group started as a Friday afternoon elective it has sparked so much interest and enthusiasm that a full day program is planned for 2019.
Cire’s Days for Girls came about when teachers Karen Swankie and Willa Vale met with Lorena Hayes of Wandin East who facilitates the project locally in her home studio. Lorena leads a group of volunteers who meet regularly to sew re-usable cloth menstrual pads to include in kits for girls in developing countries where their monthly bleeding means they are denied or have limited access, to school. The international project’s following mission statement outlines the commitment and vision to ‘turn periods into pathways’:
Days for Girls increases access to menstrual care and education by developing global partnerships, cultivating social enterprises, mobilising volunteers, and innovating sustainable solutions that shatter stigmas and limitations for women and girls. Together, we’re creating a world with dignity, health, and opportunity for all.
Our movement has reached more than one million girls — and counting! With your help, we can reach Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.
Karen and Willa saw enormous potential for involving Cire Community School students in the project and former Principal Tim Knowles approved the initial purchase of two sewing machines and an overlocker.
Lorena facilitates the project at the school every Friday, often accompanied by other volunteers from her Wandin East group. They mentor the students, sharing their extensive sewing skills and passion for the project. The students, in turn, have increased their sewing skills, moving from sewing the drawstring bags to more complex articles, and are hugely passionate and increasingly knowledgeable about the social enterprise they are supporting.
Lorena, who has also hosted the students at her studio, has been delighted with their enthusiasm and how they are ‘growing’ weekly from the opportunity.
“It is wonderful working with the Cire students. They are super keen and have really been applying themselves to learn new skills to help girls in developing countries. It is so lovely to see.” Lorena Hayes – Mentor and Volunteer
“It is great to see how the students are cultivating their social awareness and are really passionate about the project.” Willa Vale – VCAL Teacher
From the perspective of students:
“It makes me feel good because we’re helping less privileged people who would otherwise be unable to access education.” Meagan – Foundation VCAL student
“It’s absolutely fantastic what we’re doing! So many people have so little and to be able to give something back – that’s great!” Bridgette – Senior VCAL student
“It’s pretty great because you get to help people.” Britt – Intermediate VCAL student
In less than 10 years, Days for Girls has reached one million women and girls in more than 120 countries on six continents, driven by the knowledge that ‘every day matters to her’.
The following statistics show how many girls will miss out on school this year without a solution to manage their monthly cycle:
- 1 in 10 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa…
- 113 million adolescent girls in India…
- 30% of girls in rural Brazil…
For those wanting to learn more about the international project, visit the Days for Girls website.