The Nyadire Connection maintains many ongoing programs:
Imagine not being able to go to school or work during your monthly cycle because you have no sanitary protection. When volunteers from The Nyadire Connection learned of this problem in 2011, we did something about it. We downloaded patterns for sewing reusable cotton sanitary napkins. We consulted with Zimbabwean women to find partners and learn their preference for a pattern. We converted electric sewing machines to manual ones, and sought fabric, monetary donations, and volunteers.
The result: Empowerment Pads
Even before its founding, volunteers began to host “sewing parties” to cut cotton fabric and assemble materials into kits that allow recipients to sew their own reusable pads. Each kit contains:
As with all TNC projects, the input and ownership of Zimbabwean partners are essential. Local participants help refine pad designs, and run project implementation activities that include training in pad production, health education, and distribution of kits to women and girls in Nyadire and the surrounding area. The ultimate aim is to source all labor and materials from Zimbabwe.
American project pioneers continue to work with their Zimbabwean counterparts to ensure cultural sensitivity and a reliable supply chain. If you would like to support the project, you can:
On January 27, 2019, Ava Ekstam of Seneca Valley High School hosted a sewing party at Dulith UMC. This was the first sewing party held in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Many thanks to all who participated. For more information contact Bonnie Lawson.
Girls United Globally
Girls United Globally may conjure up an image of girls in their country’s native dress holding hands circling the earth. Actually this group of teenage girls at Upper St. Clair High School use their hands and their heads to become aware of issues that affect girls around worldwide as well as in their own country.
Drop in at one of their recent meetings when they are assembling hygiene kits for girls to be sent to Zimbabwe. All the components were laid out to be put into cotton drawstring bags – a large plastic recloseable bag containing bars of soap, a small plastic recloseable bag, a plastic squirt bottle labeled water, a plastic squirt bottle labeled soap and water, and a washcloth or wipes. The drawstring bags will be shipped in cartons and shipped by ocean going containers to a small rural mission in northeast Zimbabwe.
The hygiene kits are part of a program called the Girls Empowerment Program (GEP), whose goals are to educate and provide sanitary protection for girls during their monthly cycle. GEP is one of programs of The Nyadire Connection (TNC), a not-for-profit that has its roots in Pittsburgh’s South Hills. GEP had its beginning when a group of women were shocked to hear that Zimbabwean teenage girls were not attending school during their cycle because they had no protection. Much research and refinement has occurred since that disclosure. Cotton re-useable sanitary pads are cut out by women and girls at all sorts of meetings and places and are sent to 150 girls 8,400 miles away; 1800 kits were sent in 2016. Girls United Globally has been involved in this program since 2014. The group also sponsors two girls in rural Nyadire, providing funds for their school fees and backpacks full of school supplies and a bevy of friendship bracelets.
The Upper St. Clair High School Girls United Globally has also turned to local issues examining issues such as sexism within their school and up to the national level. They attended a rally on April 11 supporting equal pay for women and used a unique way of illustrating the salary disparity – the extra months of female salaries needed to catch up to men’s. They held a bake sale. Males were charged $1.50 for their purchases while females were only charged $1.00, pointing out the fact that women’s salaries are 83% lower than males. The group used the same idea to raffle off an Amazon gift card, selling tickets to males at a higher price than females.
Hannah Pribanic, president of the group reports that on International Women’s Day, the girls sold flowers with positive researched facts of how women are advancing around the world; for example, in Afghanistan. The girls also decided to direct their attention to topics within the high school and the local area by fund raising for the Women’s Shelter and supporting the foreign exchange programs. Teacher Tanya Chotani, who has an interest and experience in overseas programs, has been the club sponsor for several years.
Next year’s goal – setting up and running a thrift shop at the high school.
GO GLOBAL GIRLS, GO!