To mark International Women’s Day, Issy Sanderson, a member of the Rotary Club of York Ainsty has organised a life changing workshop in partnership with Days for Girls.
The project, which encourages the manufacture and distribution of washable, reusable hygiene kits for girls and women in developing countries.
Issy and over 300 volunteers, including members of the public, school groups and the Lord Mayor of York, have taken to the iconic setting of York Minster to host Great Britain and Ireland’s largest ever Days for Girls workshop, where they will make hundreds of kits.
Not only will the kits provide sustainable sanitation, but they will also provide a number of other benefits to the women who receive them. The kits give girls and women the confidence to attend school and markets during menstruation, allowing them to carry on with their lives.
In addition, thanks to the design of a Teacher’s Pack showing women overseas how they can recreate the kits in their communities both by hand and machine, using local, accessible materials, women are now able to start their own income-generating projects.
This is something with which Issy is very familiar: “Having spent most of my working life in developing countries initiating self-help and income-generating projects, I am only too aware of how easily people can be discouraged from continuing with a project if they think that they cannot make things because they don’t have the same ‘fancy’ materials that we have.”
The emphasis of this project really is to empower women, and Issy added: “I want a girl who receives one of our kits to be able to say ‘I can make more of these myself.’”
There are now small groups of women making kits in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Ghana, with the kits being made at York Minister travelling as far as Nepal and Pakistan for distribution later this month.
Issy was interviewed live on BBC Radio York and discussed the project with host Georgey Spanswick. You can listen to the interview here (from approximately 38 minutes in), which is available until Thursday 7th April.
First Published By RotaryGBI: Tuesday 8th March 2016