Yorkits is a Rotary-run community ‘hands-on’ project which involves a diverse range of volunteers coming together to make washable, easy-to-use, feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing countries.
Rotary York Ainsty Project Co-ordinator Mrs Issy Sanderson, spent much of her working life in developing countries, setting up self-help and income generating projects in some of the poorest communities in the world. Issy said:
“We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary and the 8th anniversary of our annual BIG workshop in York Minster on International Women’s Day 8th March.
“We run weekly and monthly community workshops where women come together to make the kits. It’s a good combination of using skills, learning new ones, meeting like-minded volunteers and making friends who want to help make a difference to the lives of women and girls worldwide. A kit made from attractive brightly coloured cotton will last a girl up to three years.”
In many developing countries, due to poverty, schoolgirls can’t go to school during menstruation, and they miss out on large chunks of their education. These kits literally change their lives!
Issy explained: “To date we have sent thousands of kits to 14 African and 4 Asian countries, to Belize and Brazil and to refugee camps in Europe and Yemen. In all these countries we have also seed-funded small self-help groups to start making their own kits with our designs out of local materials. The results have been amazing.
“For example, young girls with special needs in an orphanage in Malawi are now making kits for themselves and to sell to other women and girls – a remarkable achievement as usually girls in their situation would never be employed locally. A destitute young widow found begging on the streets with a small child in Ethiopia, has been rescued by a Yorkshire-funded charity and now is in a safe home with a sewing machine, funded by us, and is now earning her living making ‘kits to sell in the local market.
“Hundreds of girls now going to school EVERY day—just like their brothers—due to the gifts of Yorkits. These kits change lives!
“We look forward to seeing hundreds of women coming to help us on 8 March.”
The annual Yorkits Workshop will take place on Wednesday 8 March at York Minster. There will be two sessions: 10am til 12.30pm, and 1.30pm til 4pm. All materials and equipment will be provided, and refreshments will be available. Places at the workshops are limited. Free tickets need to be booked in advance. Tickets are available on the York Minster website at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.
Please note: There is a suggested donation of £3, payable on the day, to cover the costs of materials and to help towards seed-funding community self-help groups overseas to make kits out of local materials.
Yorkits can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Rotary Ainsty website.