In America they call it Girl Scouts. In the UK it’s the Girl Guides.
In Malealea, it’s the Young Women’s Support Group.
None of these groups are related, but they are all united by the same goals: celebrating womanhood and fostering an empowering community amongst girls through skill building, discussion, and fun.
In Malealea, these girls build their self-esteem while sewing reusable sanitary pads, rather than by selling cookies. The principle remains the same.
The group began as a collaboration with Africa’s Gift in 2011 with the hope that it would be a positive force against the rising social problem of sexual assault and abuse within families. There are about 25 girls, aged between 7 and 17, and they meet twice a month at the Community Center. The MDT purchases the materials (sewing machines, scissors, fabric, thread, etc…) and Africa’s Gift purchases the sewn sanitary pads and tablemats. The girls receive all proceeds.
MDT Administrator Manthabiseng Mokala runs the group. She teaches the girls how to sew while conducting discussions about confidence, self-worth, and HIV prevention. Sewing the sanitary pads was a deliberate decision to embrace the natural functions of the female body and reduce any stigma or embarrassment. These pads are also green, as they last for over a year and drastically reduce waste and cost.
- We are always in need of more materials. Any donations of funds could help us bear these costs.