DISTRICT 20 INTERNATIONAL PICNIC
On the 21st May the Association International Chair, Shamim Govani, was guest of honour joining with 114 ladies from the District to hear from three local Charities and a possible supplier, about the Mission 20:20: Restoring Dignity.
Mission 20:20 Restoring Dignity developed from an idea when the Executive travelled back from the Leicester Assembly in July 2017 and met for coffee. It was considered that as a women’s organisation we should do more to help women and girls and out of that conversation and many hours of work later, writing papers and putting proposals to the Charities, the idea of providing sustainable sanitary wear is becoming a reality.
The evening began with the basic formalities and introductions to the speakers and Executive members before enjoying an impressive picnic spread provided by club members.
Once fed and watered the first speaker was Trudy a Trustee from Akamba Aid who explained and illustrated by way of a Power Point Presentation the use of ‘Ruby Cups’; the silicone cups used to aid girls and women during their period in Africa.
If the issue is not discussed and the charity was not active in the area, the girls would miss school during their period or even stop all education once puberty is reached. Even more concerning is the lack of sanitary wear and often rags, bark, leaves or other totally unhygienic items are the chosen as protection.
Next was School in A Bag represented by Lis who kept the audience on their toes giving information but also asking questions to engage the audience. A new rucksack was being made for School in a Bag, but out of reclaimed materials from water sachets so the bags could also foster local work and of course were readily available in the country which certainly was an interesting concept. School in a Bag are happy to help with the distribution of sustainable sanitary wear via their existing shipments.
Water Survival Boxes saw Tony, one of the two gentlemen at the event to brave the 114 ladies, speak of the distribution and essential work undertaken to help those people in dire need throughout the world who, through natural disasters, are left with nothing. The boxes are packed in Midsomer Norton and with spare capacity within the shipments WSB are happy to aid Mission 20:20, using the available space, to provide reusable sanitary wear for the women and girls who have lost everything, to help restore their dignity.
Kathryn from ‘Women and Girls’ spoke extremely enthusiastically of the new ‘Saafkins’ (which are very reminiscent of the belt and pad we ladies all used to wear) but this is using a revolutionary material which breaks down bacteria and is easy to wash. Her father David was in attendance as he was the one who discovered the material in India whilst working there. Both Kathryn and David attended the Bournemouth Conference and were familiar to many of the menmbers. ‘Saafkins’ would provide an viable alternative to the silicone cups which through culture and water issues may not be acceptable.
However as identified there is also the possibility of sustainable pads which can be used but this again is dependent on the culture as in many countries knickers are not worn so there would be no means of securing the items. The availability of water also has to be considered.
There was a display of the patterns available to make the pads and there is a pattern on the Inner Wheel website under the ‘downloads’ section, so if any sewing group within the clubs would like to make some pads to help supply the charities named above, I would be extremely grateful and please let me know!
The alternative is to fund raise so we can purchase the pads, ‘Saafkins’ and silicone cups and currently I have four companies in discussion regarding prices! I never thought when taking on the role of International Chair for District 20 that I would be so involved but also having so much fun trying to restore dignity to other ladies!