Pad Party Leads to Pad Talks

Creating Something Personally Useful

by Marti Fisher

Not long ago, well before our departure on the Kenya 2009 mission, Adah, our nursing student (a senior at Azusa Pacific University), was excited about learning something recently. She had been shown how to make cloth menstrual pads for young girls that can be washed and reused. It’s difficult for most of us to imagine how significant a problem this is for many young women, especially on the African continent.

Adah heads to South Africa on September 9. She's prepared a talk that she'll give to young women there. She'll bring a number of sample pads with her that she'll distribute there.

"Hmm," I began to think. "During our upcoming Kenya mission, I, too, will be in a place where there's a big need for handmade, reusable menstrual pads." As you'll see in the five photos at the bottom of this page, I quickly put my plans into action.

A 'pad party' at the Fishers' starts the ball rollingI started collecting old flannel shirts and towels. I bought nylon fabric for the underside of these pads. The next thing I knew, friendscame over to enjoy our first-ever "pad party." Adah brought a few friends, too. Fourteen of us stayed up late, cutting, sewing, and having a great time together. I also involved members of our Bible-study group, as well as the "Helping Hands" group of sewing ladies from our church. Before I knew it, several hundred pads had been fabricated. Plus, we had measured and cut enough material to complete another 300 pads during our Kenya 2009 mission.

After beginning our three-week mission, the first place I gave "a pad talk" was at the sewing center in Malindi. Because most young girls don't have money to buy imported disposal pads, they often miss going to school. The young ladies who were taking a sewing course at the center understood what I presented to them and were excited to learn how to sew them for themselves. During my visit, each girl was given a sewn pad plus enough material to sew another.

Thereafter, we met some young women working with Caris Foundation International, a group that ministers to single mothers in Malindi, some of whom are as young as 10 years old and need help in many ways. I had the opportunity to share my "pad talk" with all the Caris teachers who soon agreed that this was a simple yet very valuable concept.

Young girls in Malindi begin to sew their padsOur entire team met in Kilifi, our national host's hometown where we had a wonderful time meeting his family. There, for several days, the team conducted Vacation Bible School for as many as 200 kids. Teammate Laura spoke intimately to 25 young girls, 11 to 16 years old, about Psalm 139, telling the attentive girls how are their bodies have been wonderfully made by God. I gave them the "pad talk," gave one to each girl, and helped them sew a second one. I could tell by several comments I'd heard that these pads were definitely meeting a need. It was a delight to see the girls sharing an enjoyable time together as they sat together, smiled, and sewed.

I gave my final "pad talk" in a remote village. The young girls there weren't attending school during the summer month of August but I was able to speak with their teacher who is a good seamstress and had sewn a pad by hand while we spoke. She told me that she'd bring a sewing machine to the village and teach the young girls how to sew these invaluable personal aids. Sadly, when these girls have their period, they often resort to skipping school and sitting over a hole in their hut. I'm comforted believing that they'll have a great time learning to make something for themselves that is so useful.

I'm so thankful to God. He helped my daughter introduce me to something valuable to so many, enabling me to pass this on to those in need. God cares for all of us. I felt that this was a great way for me to show that love of His to all of them.

Love,



 

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Adah and friends enjoy themselves at a pre-trip pad-preparation party at the Fishers' home.           Marti (left) displays two sample hand-sewn, reusable pads to young women, in Malindi,
working with Caris Foundation International, a group that ministers to single mothers in Malindi.


Marti gives a personal talk to young ladies at the Malindi Heri Sewing Centre.

Marti gets personal about pads with several young girls in Kilifi.           Young ladies hand-sewing their own pads outside the mission team's host home

God's encouraging and helpful Word for these and all children: Psalms 139:13–15For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

<<<  Click each small photo to enlarge it, read its caption, then reduce it.  >>>



September's family photo pages of "Kenya 2009":

† Dale: God Provides Desks Along with Discipleship

† Marti: Pad Party Leads to Personally Useful Product


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