Carmen Harms will deliver the feminine hygiene kits to orphanages in India.
Carmen Harms will deliver the feminine hygiene kits to orphanages in India. Andrew Thorpe

Gladstone women need your help to tackle global taboo

IF YOU'VE always lived in a developed country, it's easy to take things for granted.

Something as simple as access to cheap, disposable sanitary products is easy to overlook - but for women in less fortunate situations, it can seem like a luxury.

That's why every month, a group of Gladstone volunteers get together to address the problem and make a huge difference to the lives of women in developing countries.

Marguerita Dobrinin and about a dozen other women are getting ready to deliver 50 fabric kits containing non-disposable sanitary items to young women in India.

They are members of the Gladstone chapter of Days for Girls, a no-frills charity which provides these kits to women all over the world.

"The reason it's called Days for Girls is that once a girl has got this kit, that's three or four days every month that she lost before that now she can actually use," Mrs Dobrinin said.

"She can go to school, go to work, she can live her life without losing those days."

 

VITAL SERVICE: Days for Girls are getting ready to bring 50 feminine hygiene kits to young women in India.
Marguerita Dobrinin says the design of the kits is particularly important. Andrew Thorpe

Each kit contains a drawstring bag, moisture barrier shields, travel-sized soap, ziploc freezer bags, several absorbent tri-fold pads, a visual instruction sheet, a calendar, and even underwear and a washcloth.

"There's nothing on this bag that tells the community that this girl is having her period - because in a lot of communities they just have to stay at home or go to a hut somewhere where all the menstruating girls go," Mrs Dobrinin said.

"Imagine losing that time every month - this really does make a big difference."

Each kit will last three years before it will need to be replaced - and only costs about $15 to make, another reason Mrs Dobrinin said the charity was so popular among the group.

"There's no waste of money on fancy overheads or advertising - a $15 kit just goes to a girl," she said.

"The other thing we love is Days for Girls takes feedback from the places the kits are given to, and they make modifications to the patterns and give them to us to improve the product."

 

Days for Girls Gladstone: In preparation for International Day of the Girl Gladstone's Days for Girls group sewed, designed and packed at least 100 kits for girls living in third-world countries overseas.

Another member of the Gladstone group is nursing student Carmen Harms, who is getting ready to travel to India as part of CQUniversity's nursing outreach program.

Mrs Harms will personally deliver 50 of the kits to two girls' orphanages in Delhi.

"It's taboo over there to even speak about things like this," she said.

"This (trip) is about helping them talk about things freely, and accepting it as all girls should be able to.

"We're teaching them everything from fitness to nutrition, hygiene - all sorts of things."

 

VITAL SERVICE: Days for Girls are getting ready to bring 50 feminine hygiene kits to young women in India.
VITAL SERVICE: Days for Girls' Gladstone chapter spends time together every month, helping to make a difference in the lives of other women. Andrew Thorpe

Days for Girls is always looking for help from the community, whether that comes in the form of donations of money, donations of (specific types) of fabric or joining the chapter to help out with the construction and sewing.

Mrs Dobrinin can be contacted on 0414 706 229 for more information.