I have travelled in many countries now and as the world has changed a lot since my teenage dreams of it, Africa has waited.
Rensina van den Heuvel writes:
As my overlander travelling partner, love of my life and treasured friend, Allen is also ready for Africa, we decided to make it happen. Absolutely loads of research must be done to travel overland in any foreign countries and the continent of Africa has 54 individual countries.
We plan to travel to Morocco in December and then in a ‘frog green’ Russian ex army truck, we’ll drive down the West coast. The truck will be our home for the next seven months.
I began to think about a project, I could implement along the way…
On the 1st September, it came to light as an idea first then after looking for some facts and research to steer me on the right path, it was born.
The more I read about the many thousands of women in Africa who had no sanitary pads to use in their moon time, the more the project evolved into, I can do this!
I did not want to ‘give charity’, but wanted to assist the women in need; to give them tools to be able to sew their own cloth sanitary pads. Designing a simple pattern from many ideas and trying different fabrics, I sewed a few pads. I made them from flannelette and had them ‘tested’ by a younger woman. They worked so I began to search for some assistance.
Firstly seeking help from anyone who wished to donate fabric, cotton sewing thread, buttons, pins then asking assistance from a group of local women to help me sew. They accepted the task willingly and create 135 pad in one day from scratch! These women were dynamite.
Social media was my next step and I put it out there, to try mobilise as many women as I could who may be interested in supporting this project. It worked and many hearts opened. There has been an outpouring of help coming my way since that day. A groundswell of women of all ages, stepped up to ‘be involved.’
In less than a month I have almost everything I need to launch this project in Africa.
I have almost enough pads; there will be about 400 when I leave Australia. And I will have about 200 ‘toolkits’ containing pins, needles, cotton thread, buttons, scissors, a template and some fabric; everything in them for women even in the poorest places, to be able to sew their own pads.
I will teach the women, to sew them by hand, village by village, wherever there is a need. Making templates and sourcing extra fabrics along the way, this project will be successful.
The only part which is left to complete is a few more Sewing/Working Bees which are being held in various places in Queensland including my local area.
I have also created a Pozible Crowdfunding Page to raise a few hundred dollars to pay for excess luggage in getting the gear over to Morocco. If anyone would like to chip in a few dollars, it all adds up and it would be very much appreciated.
This is a remarkable Project and I am ecstatic, overjoyed and humbled at the fantastic level of support which has come to me from women in many parts of Australia and across the world.
I witness a sacredness when I see women working together; I see a deep well of giving, supporting and nurturing combined with a strong warrior spirit, as they collectively, get the job done.
Combine these qualities and characteristics, with women’s focus and endurance and watch the magic unfold as a bunch of women in one part of the world; make an extraordinary difference to a whole lot of women in another part of the world.