Ladies in Alaska Help Girls in Africa

Ladies in Fairbanks, Alaska, worked together to sew and assemble 100 hygiene kits for girls at a boarding school in Malawi, Africa. It all began when one of our church members, Michelle Henry, visited a friend in Washington over Christmas 2019. Her friend, Kathy Purvis, invited Michelle to sew with a local group that was working on a mission project.

Twenty-six students from Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Washington, under the leadership of Lauralee and Chuck Paulson of Operation Planet, were planning to go to Malawi in March 2020. They had heard about the Days for Girls movement and the need for feminine hygiene products in countries where young women are not able to attend school several days each month because a lack of personal protection. Founded in 2008, Days for Girls has reached more than 1 million women and girls in more than 125 countries. The movement creates kits to help the girls stay in school by providing individual kits containing two shields, eight liners, one washcloth, two undergarments and a bar of soap, all packaged in a gallon Ziplock bag. Each Ziplock is then placed in a beautiful fabric drawstring bag.

The need was great: 200 bags, 1,600 liners and 400 shields. Henry shared the goal with ladies in the Fairbanks Seventh-day Adventist Church who were already meeting weekly to work on sewing projects; the group readily agreed to help. Women, young and old, worked together to complete the kits by shopping for fabric, washing, ironing, cutting out patterns, sewing, placing snaps and assembling kits. It was fun working together and seeing the pile of finished products grow. After the bags were assembled, Michelle packed the kits in a large suitcase and brought them to Washington state to add to another 100 locally completed kits. Unfortunately, the mission trip was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting travel restrictions. Plans are now in place to have the kits shipped to the schoolgirls in Malawi.

Fairbanks Church members who worked on the project agreed it was wonderful to have a part in fulfilling a great need and look forward to more unique ways to help their community, both far and near.