Undies For Africa is an initiative we started in 2014, in order to urgently meet the needs of our women and girls. Many of our girls don't have ready access to underwear, and noneof themhave regular access to sanitary products. Lack of access to these products is a huge reason why many girls leave school without even completing primary school. This can have devastating ramifications for her life, and for her children, who - like her - are more likely to live in poverty, vulnerable to more abuse and disease.
Through Undies for Africa we were able to take 60kg of underwear and sanitary products to Uganda on Sarah and Sunny's 2014 trip. We are still sending over regular boxes of donations, as we were so fortunate to receive huge support from the local New Zealand community.
However, at it's core, Undies for Africa is not sustainable. It is a hand out, and a quick fix for a desperate situation. It is not what we ever intended for Kids First. So, whilst we are unspeakably grateful for the support we received, we are hoping to develop a more sustainable way for our women and girls to get access to these basic needs. We had researched extensively into manufacturing our own disposable sanitary pads (with Sunny and Sarah traveling to India with their 6 month old baby to check out machines for this!) as reusable pads were not acceptable in the community where our girls and women live.
However, in this time there has been national outcry about the situation for women and their access to sanitary products. This has removed the taboo of washing and drying reusable pads hygienically (i.e. out in the open rather then bundled up in a dark corner). As such we are excited to be moving into a new phase of making reusable pads for our women and girls to use. We have done a recent trial with our school leavers that has been hugely successful. However, in order to continue with this on a larger scale we really need more room, more space.....we need Kids First to own land and buildings! (Want to help? Contact us!)
Kids First mothers holding up donations of pads and undies