From the Sew Powerful Website: In Zambia it’s the common cultural practice in both poor urban and remote village areas that girls stay home when they are on their period. This is because they don’t have a reliable product solution that they can afford. To avoid the risk of social embarrassment–they stay home. Disposable products are not the solution because there is no garbage collection, and the cost is an impossible barrier to overcome. A well-made reusable product that replaces their traditional method is the best solution.
For our 2020 community service project, we took several opportunities to make bags together, even though we are sheltering in place. The first time was our monthly sit and sew zoom meeting. We downloaded either a beginning pattern or intermediate pattern up the patterns from the website and cut out a purse using our own fabric.
Our community service chairperson, Rema Jones, cut out thirty bags using fabrics from her own inventory and fabric donated to the chapter. The next opportunity to make bags together took place during our monthly zoom meeting. We had picked up the kits earlier from Margaret Caley’s front porch. Rema projected the directions, and we all shared expertise to make the bags. In each pattern is a page to copy and print where we can write a special message giving advice or words of inspiration.
These bags have multiple pockets and are not mindless projects. The challenge to make them correctly and embellish the purses made them worthy and enjoyable projects for us to complete. Some of us watched several videos with instructions on how to make the bags on the So Powerful Purse Project website or YouTube.
An interesting note is that many mothers of the girls who came home with the bags took them for their own use. Now the organizers make sure each girl’s mother has a bag.
As of this date, the chapter made 55 bags to send to Zambia. Along with the bags, it’s heartening to think about how many days of education we are supporting young women to complete.