Friday, November 21, 2008

A Report on our Kenyan Orphanage Service Project

In my blog of September 26, 2008, I introduced you to Celeste Mergans, who works with Project Thrive, a part of the Clay Foundation dedicated to finding sustainable solutions for children at risk in third world countries. I also introduced you to her need at the time: 500 feminine hygiene kits for the adolescent girls at the Academy of Hidden Talents orphanage in Dagoretti, Kenya.
Celeste’s determination to come up with a cleanable/reusable kit rather than the American style disposable product was prompted by three considerations: First, with AIDs being a significant blood-borne threat, and with no solid-waste facilities available, disposal of used, western-style products would be a problem. Second, with the reusable kit, you only have to transport and deliver one package. Third, the washable kit fits the Clay Foundation model of sustainable programs. It’s easier on the planet and involves the user in the solution.
If you remember, Celeste had only a scant month to gather the 500 home-made kits she needed to take with her to Kenya.

My daughter Terry and I, swept up in the need, volunteered to spearhead 200 kits and I blogged about the need, hoping someone might see and want to help.

SWAN, a 501 (c) (3) organization, provided materials for the 200 kits Terry and I volunteered.

The ladies and kids of Sedro Woolley and Burlington (Washington) Wards pitched in to construct them.

My son’s family home evening group at BYU got together to make the bags.

Celeste reports that she got kits from people as far away as Arizona who had seen my blog on Liz Sez and joined the effort.

To all who helped, she says: “Thank you for ALL you did to make this all possible. It was, and is, miraculous.

Celeste also says that this is an ongoing need. You can go to the Project Thrive web site and find out how you can help.

I'll write more about the broader, more far-reaching aspects of Celeste's feminine hygiene kit project in my next blog.

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