Naomi’s Purse

With girls in poor urban and remote village areas staying at home from school while menstruating due to a lack of reliable products that teens can afford to avoid the risk of social embarrassment. They can lose nine weeks or more, almost 1/3, of the school year.  Sadly, this frequently means the difference between achieving a passing score on the exams required for secondary school.  Disposable products are not the solution because there is no garbage collection, and the cost is often an impossible barrier to overcome. A well-made reusable product can replace the western method and is the best solution.  Using available sewing patterns for simple cross-body purses and reusable hygiene pads, we invited a network of friends to participate in our project, Naomi’s Purse, in the United States.  Approximately 15 people in our little network made 100 purses and 600 reusable hygiene pads. In August 2021 we distributed a purse with 6 pads to 50 girls in Sanjweru Primary School and provided instruction for their use.  The young ladies received the purses very well. In hope of maintaining an adequate supply for the girls, American donors provided four new Singer Sewing Machines and Touching Lives has begun teaching Sanjweru locals to make cloth feminine hygiene pads and to sew purses. These sewers include the girls’ relatives who can help ensure the girls get what they need in a discrete and respectful way.  It is our hope that these sewing skills will provide steady work and ultimately develop seamstress businesses to enhance the local economy.    
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