The Gleaner

Days for Girls sewing team travels to Ghana

The Haut-Saint-Laurent Days for Girls sewing team sponsored distributions in the Anomabo region of Central Ghana from November 20 to 29. Fundraising by team members took place around the Valley at various fairs and the Huntingdon Farmer’s Market. Many local citizens and a few from further afield in Quebec and Ontario contributed to this project. Days for Girls, an international non-profit organization started 15 years ago, has a two-fold mission. First is to increase access to menstrual care and education, thereby improving the health, education, and livelihoods for girls and women around the world. Second is to have discussions (Men Who Know) with boys and men on how they can support girls and women through reducing stigma and limitations associated with menstruation.


More than 500 girls in the Anomabo region of Central Ghana participated in educational sessions and received menstrual supply kits sponsored by the Haut Saint Laurent Days for Girls Sewing Team PHOTO Teresa Groenewegen Caza


How did the distributions get organized? The H-S-L team, with the help of Marylin Kippins, spoke with Anomabo area school directors in August of 2023 and arranged distributions to students 11 years and older at five area grade 1 to 9 schools. Due to the successful fundraising, the team was able to order and purchase 548 washable, reusable menstrual supply kits from the Amazing Girl DFG Enterprise in Senya Beraku, Ghana. This Enterprise was also hired to give separate education sessions to the groups of boys and girls at each of the distributions.

Teresa Groenewegen and Barbara Whyte, two HSL team members, traveled to Anomabo, Ghana, arriving on November 16. On the morning of November 20, Marylin, Barbara, and Teresa met the two Ghanaian presenters at the Anomabo A/B School shortly before the first day’s sessions. They were Issabella Akwaboah, an English teacher at A.M.E. Zion A/B Basic, and George Nyankson, an administrator at Senya-Beraku High School. The presenters arrived with charts and the kits to be distributed to the girls.

Akwaboah’s first presentation was to approximately 200 girls. She was very animated and did a thorough job. Several other adults helped with slides and charts, since it was a very large group. Once the girls completed the educational presentation, the kits were then distributed and a demonstration on their care and use was given. Akwaboah continued to be an effective, effervescent Days for Girls ambassador for the remaining sessions. In total there were more than 500 female participants.


Haut Saint Laurent Sewing Team members Teresa Groenewegen Caza and Barbara Whyte far left and right travelled to Ghana to participate in the distributions which took place with the help of Issabella Akwaboah and Marylin Kippens PHOTO Teresa Groenewegen Caza


The team found a gem when Nyankson agreed to animate the boys’ sessions. This was the first time this enterprise had been asked to present the Men Who Know program to the school’s boys. During the first session at Anomabo Catholic A&B schools on November 20, Nyankson realized the age span was too large to have effective in-depth discussions. As a result, he changed the format: for the remaining school sessions, the boys were split in two groups according to age. The older boys had a presentation and discussion of about one hour. The younger group of boys then gathered with Nyankson for about 45 minutes. This format allowed for more productive discussions. In total, more than 500 Ghanaian school boys obtained additional exposure to sexual awareness, menstrual health, and responsible decision-making.

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