Ever feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the bad stuff and needs around the world that seem unending? Yeah, me too. I can’t do All Of The Things so I think I can’t do ANYthing.
But once in awhile God gives us an opportunity to see His kingdom being furthered here on earth – “His kingdom” just being a glimpse of what heaven may look like – a place where there is plenty and justice for everyone. And you were part of a story like that.
Remember that time I told you about why underwear is important in Uganda and this is how you responded?
Well, here’s the rest of the story in Maggie’s words:
Thanks to you (and Austin, our “panty and pad mule” or “Kotex kingpin”), we were able to send every single one of the girls at Pader Academy home with a pair of panties and several sanitary pads. They were thrilled.
(This picture brought tears to my eyes seeing the girls anxiously lined up waiting at the door.)
During the week, the tailoring teacher and I taught the vocational students how to sew their own reusable sanitary pads using materials that we found locally. We encouraged the girls to make pads for themselves, but also to make more to sell in their home villages over their term break.
You may remember that in the middle of the summer I held a mini advocacy workshop, where I taught the girls how to identify and articulate the problems they face and write letters advocating for change. They wrote to several companies, like Kotex and Hanes, that make sanitary products that the students believed they could benefit from. They wrote about their school and how the donation of these items would make a big difference in their everyday lives and their future studies. It worked.
Through this process, I was able to form a relationship with a Ugandan company called Afripads. In two weeks, when the girls return for the next school term, Afripads will be donating “hygiene kits” to each and every student at Pader Girls’ Academy. These kits include several reusable pads, two pairs of underwear and a bar of soap.
I keep thinking how this is so much bigger than just menstrual hygiene. Go with me here. These girls have been robbed of a lot of their power and agency. They feel out of control of their circumstances. Without the proper resources, they can’t even control their period each month. So they miss school, rely on men, fall prey to manipulation, become pregnant, and the cycle of helplessness gets perpetuated. How amazing that they can reclaim some of this power…by simply owning underwear and sanitary pads! It’s a huge deal.
So to any of you who donated underwear or pads, or who have sent encouraging messages or prayers my way this summer, thank you! This is not an overstatement: You have changed the trajectory of these girls’ lives.
We routinely pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” but it doesn’t seem like a REAL thing we can be a part of. Know today that it is and with God’s help you can and you have!