In response to COVID-19, Dignity4Girls released emergency funds in 2020 to support our partners in Kenya and Liberia.
With funding from D4G, the Kenyan enterprise has sewn over 2000 face masks for free distribution in their community. The team has also made liquid hand soap which was distributed through the Grace Community Center.
The Grace Community Center (GCC) team responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic by using emergency funds to purchase oil and rice. These essential food items were distributed to the community along with eggs from the hen farm.
Funds were also supplied for sponsored students to receive solar lanterns and radios to keep up with their studies.
During the early months of the pandemic, Liberian church members of Zwedru Lutheran Church were turned away by city officials when they arrived to worship without masks. D4G provided funds to purchase fabric. 300 masks were sewn so families could safely attend church and shop at crowded outdoor markets.
Due to the pandemic, the new high school sewing classes have been postponed. Thankfully, a shipment of over 650 feminine hygiene kits arrived safely in March of 2020 and a new shipment of 541 kits is scheduled to arrive this spring.
Days for Girls Kenya has hired a Kenyan Enterprise leader who is helping them resolve issues like finding quality fabrics, PUL and snaps. The Sandi Helm, D4G Program Director, had an opportunity to meet with this individual and saw how committed she was to seeing the Kenyan enterprises succeed. This is an answer to our prayers- to have a strong Kenyan support system for the budding enterprise! The Kenyan DfG Leader has already held a workshop focused on improving sewing skills.
PHOTO: Seamstress Gladys irons a skirt while Deaconess Eunice sits in the background. Notice the iron, they fill it with hot coals to keep it hot!
Days for Girls has instructed all U.S. DfG sewing teams to no longer send kits to Kenya. Days for Girls will be using only Kenyan DfG enterprises to fulfill kit requests through donations and paid orders taken in Kenya by schools and churches. This new business model will strengthen Kenyan sewing enterprises. Until local orders are recieved, we are committed to funding the GCC sewing enterprise and supporting their efforts to sew kits for girls in their community. In 2020 they made 540 kits, this year they hope to reach more girls with the life-changing kits.
The long awaited shipment of over 1,000 kits has arrived in Liberia. Boxes of kits have been divided up and sent to several schools all over the country.
Many Liberian teachers are now able to teach their students about feminine hygiene while providing a product that will allow girls to attend school during their periods.
These teachers and girls wish to extend their deepest thanks to all who donated their time, effort and money to create these freedom giving kits.
D4G seeks to empower nationals through skills training. Funds raised in the US bring opportunities to women and girls to attend trade school and learn business practices. Through a donation, Gladys, a Kenyan seamstress was sent to the Days for Girls University in Uganda to be trained in sewing hygiene products as well as business management. Gladys has now set up shop in Kenya and is training local women to sew the much needed pads and other items!
Help us grow the Kenyan sewing program with a donation for machines and materials.
Thank you Bethlehem Lutheran Church, River Grove, IL for your donation that made this possible!
Dignity4girls and Sacred Center for Widows and Orphans sponsored a special F.G.M. Awareness event in Kenya.
WHY: To educate on the dangers of F.G.M. (Female Genital Mutilation)
WHO PARTICIPATED: Educators, widows, women, cutters and girls
OUTCOME: Women and girls spoke openly about the pressures to participate in F.G.M. Educators spoke about the dangers and risks to the young girls at the time of cutting and the long term effects. Cutters expressed their concerns with other ways to make a living.
FUTURE: Next events: #1: Women and men together, to teach men the dangers since they are the final say in the household
#2: An event with girls and boys. Teaching young boys to support a young girls decision not to be cut.
We have blessed several families with hens and even one with a goat. Donors have received photos of the grateful families with their livestock.
Did you know that a hen's eggs provide important nutrients and products to sell? Help a family today!
Donate a hen in their honor and share what that gift will mean to the Kenyan family. Then in a few months, enjoy together a photo of the Kenyan family.
Kenya- August 2018
A profound title for a camp designed to remove girls from their communities during the traditional tribal FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) cutting ceremonies. This camp allowed the girls an escape from the ritual while also preserving their standing in the community.
Parents, who had been hiding their girls to protect them, were very grateful and thanked Robert for providing a safe haven while also offering education on topics like feminine health, basic gardening, and the deep love of Christ.
The opening devotion came from Genesis 17:9–13, inspiring the girls with the knowledge that only men are called to be circumcised—not women.
96 girls, ages 6-16, attended along with 20 mentors; older adolescent girls who have said “no” to the cutting. A team of 17 social workers and deaconesses carried out the program in a rented school (for sleeping) and nearby church.
Only a few girls we lucky enough to sleep on beds with nets. Others were on mats on the floor. Thankfully the area had been treated earlier for mosquitos, which can carry malaria.
Robert would love to someday build a community center with a dormitory on the donated land and have a permeant site for his camps -where all girls have a bed, blanket and protective net.
One girl explained that there are 8 in her family and they only own 3 blankets so her mother told her to go and share with a friend.
The 990 kits arrived safely in March, 2018, and the first quarter of the WASH! WASH! WASH! program is complete!
The results of the first three months of the WASH! program are encouraging:
WASH stands for improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Robert Gutwa and his staff implemented this new program in mid-2017 to serve the most vulnerable. They are reaching out to maturing girls and their families by spending three months providing health education and information on the dangers of FGM (Female Genital Multilation), a harmful ritual that is illegal, yet still practiced.
Sacred Centre for Orphans and Widows also hopes to provide these girls and widows with the much needed feminine hygiene kits, and more underwear and soap. Robert and his team of deaconesses has reached 300 families in the first quarter of WASH! He is currently in his second quarter and needs our financial help to continue this program! $2,500 funds 3 months of WASH! WASH! WASH!
Through a relationship with Immanuel Lutheran Church in Elmhurst, IL, and Joe Boway from Liberia, D4G will be shipping 350 kits to Liberian high school girls in May 2018.
Joe was born in the jungles of Liberia and as a child came to Christ through a missionary family. Due to civil wars, Joe and many others ended up in refugee camps. For 14 years civil war prevented most schools from operating; as a result, today more than half of the adults in Liberia are illiterate. Joe, who now lives in Fort Wayne with his wife and sons, created the Liberian Children's Ministry as a way to educate children in the jungle areas. Joe now oversees 14 schools and over 5,000 students!