Days for Girls Tehachapi
November 9, 2019
Simply put, Days for Girls is an international nonprofit organization that distributes sustainable menstrual solutions to girls in third world countries.
The concept for Days for Girls was born in 2008 when Celeste Mergens, an American woman, was traveling in Nairobi, Kenya. She discovered that for lack of feminine hygiene products, young women were having to stay out of school during their monthly periods. They would stay inside, sitting on cardboard that was used to absorb the flow. Mergens' first response was to organize donations of sanitary pads but the pads are toxic and the girls had no way to dispose of used pads. She developed the idea of creating washable, reusable pads put together in a kit, designed to last for up to three years, that would allow the girls to continue their schooling uninterrupted. The Days for Girls (DfG) kits are made up of a draw-string bag which include colorful reusable flannel pads with cotton shields and liners, panties, a washcloth, soap and poly bag allowing each girl to take care of her own hygiene needs. When the kits are distributed, the girls receive health education and learn how to care for and use the kits while dispelling the myths and cultural taboos associated with menstruation.
The DfG kits are now being made throughout the world by volunteers who work either individually or in teams located in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Tehachapi Team of Days for Girls is asking for help from the community in gathering supplies and for sewing volunteers to make the kits that are needed by young girls in more than 125 countries around the world.
The organizer for the Tehachapi Team of Days for Girls is Jacqueline Durk who recently moved to Tehachapi to join her daughter Mindy Martindale at Bee Good to Yourself Essential Oils on S. Robinson St. Jacqueline at one time owned a quilt shop in Lake Isabella and later in Barstow. She said the DfG kits are made to very specific guidelines using 100 percent cotton and cotton flannel fabric and 100 percent polyester thread. The organization is very particular about the prints used as well, she added, preferring floral and generic patterns and dark and bright flannel. The pads have a plastic lining which Jacqueline orders by the bolt.
Jacqueline has put together a team of women who meet every Friday to make the kits at the Bee Good to Yourself Training Center, 104 S. Robinson St. Anyone wanting to sew with them is welcome to come and join in. They also need people willing to sew or serge at home, wash and iron fabric, cut fabric, attach snaps and assemble kits. Jacqueline said there is a die made for fabric cutters and she has one. Monetary donations are also welcome. For more information, contact Jacqueline Durk at (760) 417-0642.