Giving Back: Partnering with Days for Girls and Mothers Without Borders
Nov 04, 2016
I once heard someone say, “When our bodies are in need of healing, we search inward for a cure. When our souls need healing, however, looking only inward isn’t enough. The healing of the soul is found in turning outward to help someone else.”
The girls and women who come to Avalon need healing of body and soul, and while here, are given the chance to look both inside and outside of themselves to find motivation for lasting recovery.
Recently, our clients had the opportunity to help with two humanitarian projects: making hair bows for girls in a Mothers Without Borders orphanage in Zambia, and putting together sustainable feminine hygiene kits for young women in Ethiopia and Kenya. The kits were delivered through Days for Girls International, along with education about female strength, health, puberty, reproduction and how to care for and use kits.
Supplies for the feminine hygiene kits had been donated by a variety of groups and individuals, but as we started stuffing bags, we realized that we were short on underwear. As soon as the word went out, monetary donations from staff came in, and we were quickly able to purchase the necessary items. It was an inspirational connection point for staff to so fully support the client’s efforts on a project with such meaning to them.
Days for Girls kits include underwear, flannel pads, moisture-barrier shields that hold the pads in place, soap and a washcloth, all in a pretty drawstring bag!
We chose to support Days for Girls because of the importance of their purpose.
The clients made drawstring bags, sorted donated supplies and assembled about 350 quality, sustainable feminine hygiene kits,
which were then delivered to African girls by Days for Girls Ambassadors.
At school, young women in Kenya receive their kits, along with education about female strength,
importance, health, puberty, reproduction and how to care for and use their kits.
One of the ambassadors who delivered the kits from Avalon wrote, “Our sincere appreciation to all who contributed to providing kits for the wonderful young ladies we met. Each girl, with a lot of desperation, hoped to receive a kit. They were from extremely poor backgrounds and their parents cannot afford to buy disposable pads. The school teachers told us that the majority of the girls are absent for 4-5 days each month during their periods, and that the kits help the girls to stay in school. Working with Days for Girls is now my life! Being a part of this gave me so much joy!”
Avalon clients also created hair bows, which were then delivered by one of our staff to a Mothers Without Borders orphanage in Zambia. The bows were meant to be incentives for girls as they reached certain milestones in school. The boys, however, wanted to earn them too, and when they did, clipped them onto their shirts.
Children living in a Mothers Without Borders orphanage in Zambia choose and wear their bows.
In 2009 there were 615,000 Zambian orphans due to HIV/AIDS, and the number continues to rise.
At the Avalon Hills adolescent home, while working on these projects, a client said, “This just makes you feel so good!” The clients expressed gratitude for access to sanitary supplies and other necessities of life, and one of the adult clients said that working on the project made her “feel so relaxed. ”It was “one of the top ten things” she had done at Avalon. As they were working on these projects, the clients felt some of the benefits that come with helping others: joy, a moment to take a breath away from their own thoughts, a greater appreciation for their own backgrounds, and relaxation.
What other projects are in the works? Continued visits to a care center for the elderly; a food drive, headed by one of our adolescent clients, for our local food bank; a Thanksgiving meal served to adults with special needs and senior citizens who are alone; goodie bags for refugee kids recently settled in our community; and school supplies for kids in Peru, to be hand-delivered by a member of our staff as she volunteers with Youthlinc.
The relief and comfort these projects will bring to their recipients is wonderful! But we are also grateful for the recognition and creation of purpose and meaning that will come into the lives of our clients as they participate. As they give of themselves, they find themselves.
Learn more about how to contribute to these worthwhile organizations here: