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York: volunteers wanted for Days for Girls charity event

The UK's biggest ever workshop for a charity making feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing countries comes to York Minster on 8 March ...

Sewing machines, ironing boards and a mini-production line will be set up in York Minster’s North Transept for the biggest ever UK Workshop for Days for Girls - the world-wide “hands-on” project that brings volunteers together to make washable, easy-to-use feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing countries.
The event – which takes place on Tuesday 8 March – International Women’s Day, is being organised by Issy Sanderson of Rotary York Ainsty. Issy spent most of her working life running projects in economically developing countries.
Lack of access to affordable, feminine hygiene products during menstruation has serious consequences for many girls across the world. These include missing school days, risking infection from improvised materials such as leaves and unsterilized cloths and in some communities, being locked away because they are regarded as “unclean”.  Days for Girls has one clear aim:  “Education, Hygiene and Dignity for all girls – everywhere.”
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 also contains 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.
The kits are transforming the lives of girls and women in communities around the world. Days for Girls also provides templates and instructions for how to make the kits.  Enterprising seamstresses in Kenya have set up their own businesses making kits for their communities and generating their own income for the first time.
Issy who is also a regular worshipper at the Minster is working with the Reverend Ellie Bangay, the Minster’s curate on the staging of the event. Issy commented:  
“We need volunteers to draw around templates, cut out pattern pieces, press fabrics, machine-sew and hand-sew items and then finally pack the finished kits. Our aim is to produce 50 kits by the end of the day.
“The kits made in the Minster will be taken by volunteers working on projects around the world including Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Gambia, Malawi, Sierra Leone and West Pakistan. We are also ready to take supplies to any non-governmental organisations, charities or church projects which request them.”
Commenting on the workshop, Ellie added: “Managing menstruation in some parts of the world can be very challenging with poverty, social and cultural traditions placing real constraints on the health and welfare of girls and women. I was shocked to learn that lack of access to affordable, feminine hygiene products results in days out of school, risk of infection and being isolated for days at a time.
“Hosting the workshop in the Minster will help to raise awareness of this terrific global project. There will be something for everyone to do and it will be great fun and an opportunity to get involved so please come to the Minster and give us a hand.”
The Days for Girls Workshop at York Minster will be held on Tuesday 8 March and volunteers can come any time between 10am and 4pm. Participants are asked to register in advance if possible and pay £2 on the day. This donation will go towards the cost of the materials used in the workshop, the items for the kits and towards start-up funding of new income-generating projects for women in poor communities.
To register, email or

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