Throughout the pandemic, our dedicated Guatemalan volunteers have served their communities by distributing food, vitamins, and health education materials that they receive monthly in Faith In Practice care packages. In October, the focus of these efforts turned to women’s health, including menstruation, menopause, and women’s cancers with an emphasis on breast self-exam.
Thanks to our longtime partner, Vitamin Angels, our Guatemalan volunteers were able to distribute prenatal vitamins to pregnant women within their communities. In addition, they distributed menstrual hygiene kits from Days for Girls, extending an initiative we piloted in the villages last year.
Days for Girls
Days for Girls, a nonprofit that increases access to menstrual health and education, works with partners around the world to distribute menstrual hygiene kits that are sewn by volunteers.
Faith In Practice began this effort last year, when Laurie Frey, sister of our own Rev. Linda McCarty, Faith In Practice’s President and CEO, generously donated several hundred Days for Girls menstrual hygiene kits for girls in Guatemala.
Laurie and her friends spent countless hours sewing and assembling the kits, which included pads and liners, underwear, washcloths, soap, and a storage bag. The pads and liners are made from bright and colorful fabric so they can be washed and dried in public without causing embarrassment to the girls who use them. They are also reusable and quick drying so girls can use them for several years.
Longtime volunteer team leader Wendy Robinson offered to lead the DFG effort during her Village Medical Clinic Team in late 2019. The kits, and the related training on reproductive health, were well received by the patients who came to the Robinson Team that week, and we began to consider how we could reach even more women and girls.
Training at Xela Aid
After our teams were suspended last spring, we began to build new local partnerships and serve in new ways. During these months, we worked closely with Xela Aid, holding telemedicine and mobility clinics at their facility in Quetzaltenango. Last month, we brought Days for Girls to Xela Aid, not only distributing kits, but also providing an on-site—masked and distanced—training for local girls.
Tagni Moncada, our Village Medical Clinic Program Coordinator, organized and led the education session. She explained how to properly use and wash the kits and provided education about the basics of the reproductive system and the menstrual cycle.
“We wanted the girls to leave the event, not only with easy to use menstrual products that will, with the kits, improve their health, but also to feel more prepared and comfortable during their periods,” Tagni said.
In addition to the training with Xela Aid, and the work of our Guatemalan volunteers, we will also be distributing the kits through another local partner, EducArte.
In this time of pandemic, though challenging, it has been filled with unexpected blessings. As we build and strengthen partnerships, one of the blessings has been our ability to provide care and support to new communities, and in new ways. We are grateful for the ways the Spirit continues to move through this mission.
Are you making kits for Days For Girls? Would you like us to distribute your kits to young women and girls in Guatemala? Let us know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713.484.5555.