Charity needs your help with project for women

Just Regional
Jan 31, 2017 5 mins read

The Lighthouse charity in Sheringham in on a mission to make the lives of women in a Ugandan village more comfortable and to give them more dignity.

Currently teenagers and women of all ages have no sanitary ware to deal with their monthly periods with many not even owning a pair of knickers.

Aside from the health and hygiene issues, there is the more frightening issue is the women there being more likely to be raped when they are not wearing underwear, according to Jo Mutton, one of those due to go out to Uganda in April with the charity Reed People.

She said each month young girls miss up to a week of school being confined to rooms where they have to clean up with leaves and it’s the same for the women too.

“They have no sanitary ware and knickers are seen as a kind of status symbol,” said Jo.

Now she and Rachel Welch, who works to raise awareness of teenage mental health, are planning a 24-hour event to help alleviate some of the problems faced by the women.

They are encouraging people to come along to a 24-hour sewing marathon to help make reusable sanitary pads which they will be taking to Uganda in April in a party of 14 volunteers.

The pads will make up a pack for each woman, which will also include five pairs of knickers and a flannel.

The pads are being made from soft cotton material such as old duvet covers or pillow cases, with absorbent towelling inside, from, for instance, cut up towels.

The event will be held at The Lighthouse church from 7pm on March 10 to 7pm on March 11. Anyone is welcome to go along at any time within those hours to give as much time as they can.

People will be needed for cutting the pattern, sewing, sorting donations or just making a cuppa for volunteers. They could even bring cake or wine, said Rachel. They would welcome people with their own sewing machines if they wish to bring them.

“There will certainly be lots for people to do and we’d really appreciate any help anyone can give us, particularly if there are any insomniacs out there who might like to join us in the small ours,” she added.

It will be Rachel’s first time in Uganda, though husband Mark is very familiar with the work out there having been involved in building facilities at the local school.

Donations wise the group is looking for packs of new basic, cotton knickers, in darker plain colours from the ages of 9/10 upwards to adult sizes. The women in general are on the smaller side because of nutrition issues. They also need any material for the pads plus needles and cotton and Velcro, to use at the event as well as to take out so women can be shown how to make their own pads.

As well as being a worthy 24 hours of work, Rachel is planning for it to be fun too, with motivational ideas, nibbles, music and fun events for children. She is asking for the donation of any unwanted loom bands so youngsters can make small bracelets to take over to Uganda when they go.

Community groups have already signed up to help with the WI collecting knickers and bras. There’s also the chance for people to make a few pads in their own time with a pattern available.

Jo will be joined on the mission by husband Ian, of architects Stead, Mutton and Griggs and two of their children, including son Matthew, 14, who first went out as a nine-year-old. The team also includes a teacher, student and a physio. University student and former Cromer High pupil Tim Bending, 19, will be involved in organising a holiday club for youngsters while he is there.

Greshams teacher Dom Atkinson and his wife Sarah are involved in helping, including organising second-hand uniforms to send over with the team.

Each of the volunteers going is paying £1,000 of their own money for flights, accommodation and food, so any money raised goes straight into the community they are helping.

Rachel will be writing a blog during her time away, from April 3, so anyone interested can follow their progress. They will also be collection any donations before they go to buy medical supplies and items for the community, including a feeding programme for families as the village is currently suffering from drought. These parcels of rice, beans, sugar, flour, matches and soap cost £5 per household and will feed a family for a few days.

Donations can be handed over at The Lighthouse, which is also collecting donated items, the charity will also be creating an online donation link so check the Reel People website for details. Just Regional will also share updates.

Martin Greenland at Logowear in Sheringham is planning to donate white T shirts for the children in Uganda to decorate and keep and Starlings in the town is on board with other supplies, including fabric pens.

“We feel like it’s our community pulling together to help their community,” said Rachel. And Jo added: “Visiting this community is such a humbling experience as is seeing how much our community is willing to help.”

You can contact Jo on 07876 113035 or Rachel on 07876 195437.

See the next issue of Just Holt and Just Sheringham for the full story.

Pre-loved school uniform gets another life in Uganda

Youngsters sporting decorated T-shirts on a previous visit

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