When the lack of $1 a month causes a teenage girl to drop out of school -
WE NEED OVER $1250 A YEAR PER SCHOOL, TO PROVIDE ALL GIRLS OVER AGE 12 WITH ONE PACKET OF SANITARY TOWELS PER MONTH [AND UNDERWEAR IN EMERGENCIES]. THIS SIMPLE INTERVENTION COSTS ABOUT $1 PER GIRL PER MONTH AND KEEPS THEM IN SCHOOL FOR PRECIOUS EXTRA YEARS, WITHOUT THE DANGER OF MISSING OUT ON THEIR EDUCATION BY HAVING TO STAY AT HOME FOR A WEEK EACH MONTH.
PREVIOUSLY THIS PROGRAM WAS FUNDED BY A FEW SYMPATHETIC PRIVATE DONORS AND BY MANDY THODY, BUT THE GROWTH OF OUR SCHOOLS HAS INCREASED THE NEED TREMENDOUSLY. WE ARE VERY PROUD OF OUR 50% LEVELS OF GIRLS VERSUS BOYS IN THE UPPER CLASSES AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN THIS EQUALITY.
Recently a group of ladies on St Croix took on the task of fundraising for this aim, knowing from their own lives and their sisters, daughters and friends, how problematic managing periods can be for young women. Haitian girls are rarely able to afford any sanitary supplies, even our salaried teachers always ask for them, so we can’t say how thrilled and touched we are at this initiative on behalf of our school-girls! "Women Keeping Girls in School" can be reached by messaging GSF at any time.
Just last week (April 2018) we also had the wonderful news that the Realtors and Staff of REMAX St Croix are committed to sponsoring our Keeping Girls in School program for our second school, IMECT, this year and into the future! THANK YOU SO MUCH for making life a little easier for the 51 girls over 12 there! They will be able to stay in school and take charge of their lives!
Now that we go up to ninth grade the numbers of girls past puberty are ever growing and we were seriously wondering how to keep up! (Currently we have almost 115 girls in this age-group, up from around 40!). Since the hurricanes donations have been down overall, which means we can’t easily divert general funds. But this is one of the most successful ways to get girls to continue into higher education - the ONLY factor ever proven to accelerate societal progress and higher standards of living internationally!
Something every visitor to our projects takes is packs of girls’ bikini panties (a style that folds up small and seems widely liked) in ages 12-16, or small women’s, so that the health worker can give any girl in distress a pair or two, but of course it’s never enough… Now we can also ask the health workers to buy packs in Haiti as needed with the extra funds.
In the pictures you see a young girl whom Mandy has known since she was 8, she is very small as her whole family are under 5’, but started menstruating at 13, (often it’s 11 as in the rest of the Caribbean). She is getting her first pair of underwear and packet of pads from Madame Micheline, our health-worker.
In another picture you see the stock of the medicine cabinet! Our schools are also supplied with Kindergarten sizes of underwear (ages 3-6) for both sexes each year, for those little accidents that tend to occur with small children.
We also have a group of pregnant and nursing women (currently 33 including one grandma who is raising a baby after her daughter died) - who come weekly for a chat, a lecture if anything is available, and 3 eggs from our farm each (free) as a dietary supplement.