Women’s Initiatives: Days for Girls in Bomet

Women’s Initiatives: Days for Girls in Bomet

Women’s Initiatives: Days for Girls in Bomet

Days for Girls is an organization that was started by Celeste Mergens to solve a problem. Girls around the world have nothing to take care of menstruation, and when she saw that, she set out to create a resuable feminine hygiene pad. 

When we went to Bomet to teach hygiene, we realized that organizing a Days for Girls Enterprise there would be beneficial to the community and especially the women in that area. After a donation to start the Enterprise, Anita and Christine got everything set up and organized. 

Our first workshop in Bomet, we were able to provide toothbrushes and toothpaste to the women there, after a donation from Brandy Vega and Good Deed Revolution. Brandy had received a donation of dental supplies, and decided to take it, not knowing where it needed to go. We ended up connecting and taking it off of her hands for her. Good Deed Revolution wrote a story about it. 

Choosing the Five Families

Moses and David headed to Bomet to scout out hotels and meet with Anita. She chose five families that could benefit from receiving a part of our Business Box for Families program. Those families included

Facity and her five children 
Mercy and Vincent 
Ivyn and Faith, who were being watched over by their uncle because their parents were diagnosed with HIV
Monica and her four boys, two of whom were blind
Julianna and her daughters, Mercy and Faith

Each family had unique challenges that we could address, but first we wanted to meet with them and get to know them. Connection with people is a priority for 100 Humanitarians International. 

The number of women grew throughout the afternoon, as word spread that we were teaching. By the end, there were over 100 women there, and they were ALL interested in learning how to sew, and receiving Days for Girls kits. 

After the workshop, we had a big old dance party, and celebrated with the community. Things were about to change for them, and they didn’t even really realize the impact that having these kits would have on their lives. It was really beautiful, and lots of tears were shed. 

Heather Rangel is a Great Mom!

Heather Rangel is a Great Mom!

Heather Rangel is a Great Mom!

Heather Rangel takes care of everyone. On my very first trip to Kenya in March 2015, I got to know Heather and watch her absolute JOY from being in Kenya. I remember thinking, “She is going to squeeze every drop of happiness from this experience.” She danced, sang, and hugged everyone who came across her path. 

On our last night on the Maasai Mara, we stayed way up in the hills at a cultural village, and slept in a mud hut built for tourists. We had killed a goat for dinner, and I was out of snacks. I was taking antibiotics for malaria prevention, and taking antibiotics on a relatively empty stomach except for a small amount of goat was probably the worst idea of my life. 

It was around 2am and I was miserable, but Heather got up with me, gave me her last protein bar, walked me to the washroom in the pitch black with Maasai warriors guarding us from lions, and made sure that I stayed alive. 

That may seem dramatic, but that’s how it felt at the time. 

The Role of a Team Lead

Team Leads are critical on expeditions, and Heather was amazing on our second expedition. She made sure all of the snacks (and we had 7 kids on that trip, so there were a LOT of snacks) were organized. All of the ziploc bags were set up according to size, and she was in charge of keeping track of the donations and where they were going. She was amazing. She’s the type of person who takes care of everyone around her and forgets herself. 

Being in Kenya with Heather is just awesome, and you can see that she loves it, too!

We have a lot of fun on expeditions in Kenya, largely because of the incredible people who come with us on our trips. Strangers upon arrival leave Kenya as family, and bonds are created that will last a lifetime. 

We need Kenya more than Kenya needs us. The experiences we have change us on the inside, and we are able to see humanity in a different light. It’s powerful. It’s transformational. It’s permanent. 

Do you want to join us on an expedition to Kenya? Sign up for information on when our next trips are happening!

Women’s Initiatives: Meeting Anita in Kenya

Women’s Initiatives: Meeting Anita in Kenya

Women’s Initiatives: Meeting Anita in Kenya

Meeting Anita was truly divine intervention. When we decided to do back to back expeditions for a month, we had everything planned out for the first team. The projects were set, and we were ready to roll. So ready, that we didn’t plan the second expedition coming a few days after the first one. This was a big problem. We had 6 moms and 7 kids going on that trip! 

A few weeks before the trip, Moses said, “In the fall we should go to Bomet.” 

“Where’s Bomet?” I asked.

“It’s in the next county,” Moses replied.

I didn’t think anything beyond that, and later in the week my housecleaner mentioned that her friend in England worked in Kenya, and she should connect us. I ended up talking to him and asking him where he worked in Kenya.

“I work in Bomet,” he responded. 

Hmmm. That’s two, right? Don’t these things come in threes?

I reached out to Heather, who had been on my very first trip to Kenya in March 2015, and said, “Gut reaction. Are we going to the Mau Forrest, or to Bomet, on the second trip?”

“Hang on,” she said.

A few minutes later, she said, “When we were in Kenya last year, a woman messaged me and asked me if we would come and do a project in her village. She’s from Bomet, but lives in Mombasa now.” 

That’s three.

We meet so many people in life, but we connect to the heart of very few. We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason. That is what exactly happened after our meeting,” said Anita.

Choosing the Five Families

Moses and David headed to Bomet to scout out hotels and meet with Anita. She chose five families that could benefit from receiving a part of our Business Box for Families program. Those families included

Facity and her five children 
Mercy and Vincent 
Ivyn and Faith, who were being watched over by their uncle because their parents were diagnosed with HIV
Monica and her four boys, two of whom were blind
Julianna and her daughters, Mercy and Faith

Each family had unique challenges that we could address, but first we wanted to meet with them and get to know them. Connection with people is a priority for 100 Humanitarians International. 

Anita led us to Facity’s house first, where we met the family, including Facity’s mother-in-law, who cried tears of joy that there was going to be help for her grandchildren. A cow had been donated to Facity, so we walked the cow down the road to her home, and the whole village came out to greet us and sing to us.

It was a really beautiful day, with much love, and we realized that working with Anita would be a huge blessing for our organization. 

Four years later, we still work with Anita. She has moved back to her home, and has two beautiful daughters, runs large commercial chicken operations, leads the Days for Girls Enterprise we support in Bomet, and manages all of our projects, including building 200 Garden Tower Systems with families that is funded by The USANA Foundation

Women’s Initiatives: Our First Workshop

Women’s Initiatives: Our First Workshop

Our First Days for Girls Workshop in Kenya

The first Days for Girls Workshop we did in Kenya brought tears to all of our eyes, as we were greeted by the girls singing for us. There were around 75 girls that day who received reusable feminine hygiene kits. Christine trained our team in advance, and then we had opportunities to each step up and teach part of the information to the girls. After the workshop, we were able to meet and talk with the girls and take pictures, as we distributed the kits.

Reusable Feminine Hygiene

In Kenya, when a girl gets her period and doesn’t have access to feminine hygiene products, she has to miss school. Over time, that means missing up to a week each month due to menstruation. 100 Humanitarians International works with two enterprises in Kenya that we helped establish, to provide kits to girls who are in rural Kenya as part of our Women’s Initiatives

On our first expedition, we visited Eselenkei Girls School. The school was established to support the rescue centre, where girls have run from Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage. The kits keep a girl in school for up to 3 years, and provides hygiene and dignity for girls in Kenya. Other options include using leaves, old fabric, and even having sex in exchange for pads. 

Our team started by assembling the kits, which include two shields, 8 liners, soap, and underwear. We went through initial training to understand the challenges that the girls face from a teacher at the school, and also learned how to help the girls understand how to use the kits. 

You can make a hug difference in a girl’s life by donating a kit for just $10. Your donation will keep a girl in Kenya in school for three years, and help prevent underage pregnancy and early marriage in their communities. When you donate a kit, it also helps the women and men who work in our sewing enterprises, allowing them to feed and educate their families as well. 

100% of your donation goes to the kit. 

Women’s Initiatives: The HopeSac Project

Women’s Initiatives: The HopeSac Project

In May 2018 at a sew-a-thon where our team was working on sewing underwear to donate to street women and girls in rescue centers in Kenya, Cindy Miller brought us The HopeSac Project. The HopeSaC Project teaches retained heat cooking through instruction, both in groups and one on one, including a certification program. They also donate related kits and materials needed for retained heat cooking, items such as thermal cookers, cookbooks, pots with lids, fiber and they teach the sewing skills needed for the women to make their own.  

Women in Kenya Cook Over Open Fires in Enclosed Spaces

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, pneumonia has recently been the top killer disease, even over malaria, from 2015 to now. In addition, respiratory system ailments are the most common diseases in local health facilities. This is because many women in Kenya are cooking over open fires, smoke filling their huts that they breathe in for hours at a time, every single day. They develop respiratory issues, along with coating their walls and ceilings with a thick black tar-like substance. 

The HopeSaC Project shares the technique of retained heat cooking to benefit families through savings of health, time and money. The key to success is education. This simple system of boiling food and then insulating it until it is time to eat has been life-altering for the women in Kenya. The most frequent feedback we receive is that this technique frees up time and allows the women to accomplish more throughout their day.  

Where Your Donation Goes

Cindy Miller, the creator of The HopeSaC Project, oversees and manages the gathering of fabric, cutting, sewing, and assembly of each HopeSaC. She is not compensated for this project, but when you donate a HopeSaC, she uses the funds to travel to Kenya and Mexico to deliver them and certify women on how to use them. 

The HopeSaC Project aligns with the mission of 100 Humanitarians International to help provide self-reliance to families. It also accomplishes the following goals: 

 – Reduce the amount of time women spend cooking over fires, therefore reducing the smoke and toxin inhalation, and reducing the amount of trees cut down for fuel

 – Provide meals for children that can be cooked overnight so they are able to eat before school

 – Provide sewing skills, and retained heat cooking skills that can be passed down to future generations creating opportunities for income

The HopeSaC Project teaches retained heat cooking through instruction, both in groups and one on one, including a certification program. We also donate related kits and materials needed for retained heat cooking, items such as thermal cookers, cookbooks, pots with lids, fiber and we teach the sewing skills needed for the women to make their own. 

There are many ways to get involved in the HopeSaC Project. Get the word out by hosting a class or sewathon, share online, sew at home, join us on an expedition, donate time and/or resources, it all makes a huge difference!  We are happy to have you join us!  

Asante sana! 

 

Women’s Initiatives: Feminine Hygiene Workshops

Women’s Initiatives: Feminine Hygiene Workshops

Since our first expedition in May 2016, we have taught Days for Girls workshops in schools, churches, homes, and rescue centers in Kenya. From the streets of Nairobi to the rolling hills of The Mau Forest, we have donated over 4800 reusable feminine hygiene kits to women and girls, including education in hygiene, self-defense, and reproduction. We have helped build and establish two sewing centers, where women in Kenya have become trained Days for Girls Ambassadors, as well as learning sewing and business skills. Because of this, they are able to support their families, and pay for school fees for their children.

Kenya is the 8th Poorest Country in the World

Many women in Kenya struggle with their monthly menstruation, often resorting to sleeping with men in order to buy sanitary towels. There are just over $51 million people in Kenya, and the median age is 19. Kenya currently ranks 8th on the extreme poverty list, and 11 million Kenyans are currently living below the poverty line. In Narok County, where most of our projects are based, 49% of the county is living in poverty.

A reusable feminine hygiene kit can last for up to 3 years when taken care of, and can keep a girl in school without missing due to her period. That is a very big deal for girls in Secondary School, where often pregnancy and poverty cause them to drop out. 100 Humanitarians International commits to fundraising for 1000 kits per year, hiring the women and men who work in the sewing centers to make the kits, keeping the economy in Kenya. Each kit is $10, so our annual fundraising goal is $10,000. Every dollar makes a difference!

Where Your Donation Goes

100% of your donation goes to one of the two Days for Girls Enterprises that we work with. One is in Nairobi, and run by Christine Khamasi. The other is in Bomet, and run by Anita Byegon. Each month, we send the donations to one or both of these two enterprises, where their sewing teams make the reusable feminine hygiene kits. 

Prior to sending the kits, we discuss where the kits can go that will accomplish our goal of keeping girls from the following: 

 – Dropping out of school due to menstruation

 – Trading sex for money to buy menstrual pads

 – Being forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation and married off as a child bride

$7 from each kit goes to pay for supplies, and $3 goes to pay the people who sew the kits and help support their families. Your donation not only keeps a girl from missing school due to menstruation, but it helps keep the economy in Kenya by paying the people who make and distribute the kits. 

When the kits are delivered, the girls attend a workshop teaching them how to use the kits and take care of them so that they last as long as possible. They are also taught hygiene, self-defense, and information about how their reproduction system works. 

We are so grateful for your help and support to make this program continue each year. We have distributed over 4500 kits since we began our organization in 2015. That is 13,500 years of education. This program also prevents trafficking within families from the ability for girls to stay in school. 

Asante sana!