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Tackling period poverty – Register for the Days for Girls, York workshop

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York Minster is marking International Women’s Day by again hosting a Days for Girls,York workshop. In conjunction with Rotary York Ainsty, the Minster’s North Transept will be transformed into a giant sewing workshop on Thursday 7 March for this world-wide ‘hands on’ project. The initiative has one clear aim: ‘Education, Hygiene and Dignity for all girls – everywhere’.

Many girls in developing countries, due to poverty, are unable to go to school during menstruation because they cannot afford sanitary protection. The Days for Girls, York workshops make colourful washable feminine hygiene kits which will last girls up to three years.

Days for Girls has devised a practical, low cost, re-usable solution in the form of a kit which uses brightly patterned cottons to sew cleverly designed pads and covers which are then packed into attractive drawstring bags. These can be easily sewn by hand or with a sewing machine. Each kit includes underwear, a wash cloth and two one-gallon, super strong polythene zip-locked bags to enable the soiled items to be washed easily – particularly important in areas where water is scarce.

Once again, the workshop is taking place under the auspices of Rotary York Ainsty as one of their international projects and is being coordinated by the club’s 2018-2019 president, Mrs Issy Sanderson.

Commenting on this year’s workshop, Issy said: “Sewing machines, ironing boards and a mini- production line will be set up in the Minster’s North Transept for two sessions. These will run from 10.00am until 12.30pm and 1.30 until 4.00pm. Volunteers are needed to help cut patterns, sew items and pack finished kits. There are only 100 places available per session so volunteers will need to book a place in advance.”

A booking form for the Days for Girls York workshop can be found HERE

Issy explained that the workshops have had a global impact. “Days for Girls, York and associated groups sent 604 kits overseas last year. We also seed-funded self-help groups in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal and Zambia. Also, in India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal. The global impact from the workshops in the Minster are amazing. These kits are making a tremendous difference to the lives of young girls and women. Come and help to change lives,” says Issy.

The workshop will also draw attention to the scandal of period poverty in the UK, one of the world’s richest countries. A recent study by Plan International UK, revealed that around 1 in 10 girls in the UK have experienced period poverty and 40 per cent reported having to use toilet roll because they cannot afford proper sanitary products.

A team from Soroptimist International – will be at the workshop to highlight period poverty in the UK and to explain how local organisations in York are working together to tackle the problem.

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