International Women’s Day

In celebration and honor of International Women’s Day 2012, Love Is The Answer is #47 on a long list of individuals and organizations who are taking time today to join other writers, bloggers, and humanitarian organizations brought together by “Gender Across Borders” and “Care” to write about the chosen theme for this year’s day..

“Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”

.. by commenting, particularly, on one or both of these following points:

~ How can we, as a culture and as a member of the global community, involve, educate and inspire girls in a positive way?

~ Describe a particular organization, person, group or moment in history that helped to inspire a positive future and impact the minds and aspirations for girls.

I close my eyes. I listen, I ask, and here’s what comes..

When we listen, we not only hear.. we encourage and lead, we value and motivate, we learn and teach.. ourselves and other.. we empower and Love.

When we ask, we not only receive.. we invite hearts and minds to open, we champion expression and sharing, we spark creativity and new possibilites.. in ourselves and other.. we empower and Love.

As I’ve just recently returned from 3 months in Uganda where I was working with orphaned children, right now I’m recalling the day I first met with several teen girls at their request.. orphaned girls living with caregivers in the community. They had heard I was around, they had assembled themselves and wanted to meet and share in a circle..

We sat together in the dark of a mud and stick building and after our greetings I asked the girls what they wanted to talk about.. how could I help them?

After some few seconds, the very first issue that one, courageous, very soft spoken spokesperson brought to the table.. we miss school for several days every month when we get out periods. We have no knickers, we cannot afford pads.. coupled with all our other daily responsibilites.. cooking, cleaning, washing, minding children, fetching water, digging.. that keep us from our studies, we need help to find a solution to this huge problem in our lives.

These girls.. many, with little more in the possession department in life than the clothes on their back.. of all the things they could have asked, or asked for, managing their monthly menstration positively was THE most pressing and important issue in their lives that was holding them back from success and reaching their goals.

After supplying them all with a few pairs of knickers within the next couple days, over the course of the next several weeks, the girls, two different sewing teachers, and I, designed and created re-useable pads in our new “Pads Project” for them. Alongside coming up with a pracitical, hands on solution to their greatest need, and acquiring a skill that will last a lifetime, we shared stories, talked cultural “differences and sameness”, learned about human reproduction and why we even have periods, discussed women’s bodies, boys, men, attraction, hormones, sex, favors, bribes, having babies, HIV, goals, choices, future possibilities..

.. and at the end of the day all the girls had a supply of washable, re-useable pads and liners to begin their new school year with and a plan had been birthed to meet every Saturday afternoon for a few hours to continue learning to sew, to create “Pads Kits” and eventually maybe even clothing for children as income generating activities..

There are millions of stories to think about and share when it comes to our topic of the day.. the many, many lessons my own precious Mother taught me so superbly among them.. but for me, this is what has come to me to share today.. these girls, and the incredible inspiration they are.

Be Blessed,

Catherine

About Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.
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