Using newspaper instead of a pad.
Using a cornhusk instead of a tampon.
This is what many girls around the world have to do if they want to go to school or work while they’re menstruating. If they can’t find a way to make newspaper or cornhusks, or leaves or rocks, or anything else that they have access to work for them, then they simply have to stay home, falling behind and losing opportunities to succeed.
The non-profit organization Days for Girls is working to give this lost time back to young women by giving them the supplies to manage their periods hygienically and with dignity. The solution is simple, and consists of cloth pads, a PUL-lined cloth shield, a drawstring bag, a bar of soap, and a Ziplock baggie.
And you can make it happen.
We’ve talked before about making DIY menstrual supplies for yourself, but the patterns that Days for Girls use are special. They’re designed to be durable, so that a girl can use the same set for three years; discrete, so that she can use them even in areas where menstruation has taboos associated with it; easily washed, so that a community’s shortage of water isn’t a concern, and beautiful, because menstruation isn’t ugly.
To get started, check out the tutorials and pick out what you want to sew to donate. Be warned: although the tutorials are quite clear, these are not beginner patterns, and, of course, your sewing quality must be impeccable. To make this project suitable for a group of children–a Girl Scout troop or youth group, say–have the kids choose the fabric, cut out the patterns, pin the pieces, and collect the soap and Ziplock baggies, and leave the sewing to the older kids or adults who already know how to sew well.
If you know of a group of young women who could use these kits, or want to start or join a chapter of Days for Girls to distribute kits, here’s how to get more involved.
Photo credit: Days for Girls