We would love to wish you and your family a very happy Easter from our Every Girl team! We've had an action packed few months here, and so I'm excited to get to share some of what these they have held in store for us!
As you can see from the photo above, we are blessed with lush and beautiful scenery here in Mbale. One of my favourite things is this beautiful mountain, Mount Wanale (pictured from our JENGA office above). It can be seen from most of Mbale, has become an unofficial weather forecasting tool (once it has been covered by clouds you have around 10 minutes to take cover from the often torrential rain) and is a helpful navigation tool, but whilst the mountain is absolutely stunning, unfortunately for many who live there, life can be challenging. There is often limited access to healthcare, schooling and shops and electricity and piped water supplies are usually not available. Most families plant their crops and live off their produce. It is for this reason that I am so thankful that for the first time we have been able to run trainings from the foothills of this community.
With the reopening of schools (we had previously been training school aged young people) we have now resumed menstrual health and pad trainings with older women and men. Trainings run by Godfrey and Rose four times a week with small groups of 10, teach groups in menstrual health for one afternoon and then pad making the next afternoon. The feedback we have been receiving so far has been so encouraging and we continue to be thanked for running the trainings and informed of how access to sanitary wear is impacting people's lives.
Timothy and Godfrey have also started two new men's groups in two different slum communities (one of them pictured above). In these groups training is given on topics such as 'Who am I and why am I here?', 'Communication', 'Menstrual Health' and 'What does a baby need?'. The hope is that through discussing these topics in an honest and open way, that we can encourage better communication, and empower men, who are often the head of the household, to make better informed decisions about planning and caring for their family as well as seeing reduced rates of domestic violence.
The previous group 'graduated' at the beginning of December and were very happy with their certificates which were given for completing the course, so we can't wait to hear how these two new groups also find the trainings and the impact this then has on their families!
Very excitingly, we have started a new part of the Every Girl project. As helpful as making sanitary pads is, 'period underwear' has become the new thing in the West. Whilst locally made sanitary wear is better than not having any, we would also love to offer the best possible option, and believe that period underwear is a much more user friendly choice (particularly as not everyone has access to underwear to use pads with). We are delighted that we have been able to add a new member to our team, Naomi, a fantastic tailor, who has started to make our very own period underwear with fabric imported from the UK and the permission of a small British business to use their sewing pattern. Whilst we are working through a few challenges, such as how we can source fabrics here in Uganda, we are praying for a way forward and are already loving the feedback we are receiving from our 'testers' before we sell the underwear at a very reduced price in communities.
So all that is left to say is a massive, massive thank you for your partnership and interest in our work. Wishing you a very happy Easter!
The Every Girl Team