In June 2016, on the anniversary of my daughter, Raquel’s passing, we traveled to Santa Cruz, Bolivia to distribute 1150 Days For Girls menstruation kits at the local schools, along with medical supplies for the local health clinics. I was very excited to do such a great work in Raquel’s honor, that would help so many teenage girls to be more educated and empowered.
It took a lot of preparation to get the kits created, assembled, and packed for the trip! (Read about how I started a Days For Girls Team in my town.) I hosted a bunch of events to get everything made, and some other Days For Girls teams helped provide kits for our trip as well!
We packed all the kits into big duffle bags (68 in each one) and hauled them through the airport. The customs department in Santa cruz, Bolivia detained them and made us pay a tax before we could get them back. That was a big pain, but now we have contacts that will help us prevent that from happening again!
Here are photos of the beginning of our trip. We visited local authorities, trained a group of nurses and students, and we were even on the local news!
Here are photos of us educating the girls and distributing the kits. We taught them all about hygiene, menstruation, anatomy, and even self defense! My sister, Emili, was an amazing instructor. She spent 18 months in Venezuela during college, and so she could still speak fluently. She told the girls that if the boys asked what we were doing later, to just tell them we were talking about chocolate. She made them laugh, and they loved her!
My sister-in-law, Kelly, did demonstrations of the kits and underwear for us. She would do a little dance while standing up on a chair. She had all the girls laughing and flocking to her afterward for selfies pictures! 🙂
We had to guard the windows constantly to keep the curious boys from looking in. Sometimes it got hot in the classrooms. They didn’t have any big assembly rooms there, and we were short on time, so we would have to pack as many girls into one room as possible. In one class, a girl fainted in the back where many girls were standing. So they had to take her out, but she came in a few minutes later and was all right.
It was an exhausting, but very fulfilling week! We had to give out the kits inside the classroom as the girls were leaving, because otherwise, we couldn’t tell who had already received one, or if they had actually been in the class.
We weren’t able to distribute all the kits we took, so we left about 500 there with the trained nurses to distribute. Whew! What a crazy, but awesome week!
Then we flew to Peru for some sightseeing.
While we were there, we made a contact in Peru for distributing Days For Girls kits! Right next to our hotel was a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I told my husband, Mike, that we needed to go there on Wednesday night and see if the Young Women’s director was there. Well, we went, and she was there. She is the director of the entire city of Cusco and the surrounding countryside of the Sacred Valley and more. So we have our work cut out for us, to take kits to the many girls there who need them so desperately in Peru.
So next year, I want to take kits there too, and even start some enterprises. This means teaching the women there to sew the kits for themselves. In both Bolivia and Peru they have sewing centers with sewing machines that anyone can use for free. So we just need to get organized about instructing them, and take down some raw materials to get them started!
Do we need donations? Yes!! I’ve been buying underwear from Walmart on the Back to School sales, but I do need more financial and in kind donations if we are to be able to do all this good work. If you’d like to donate, please click here or see the link on the right side of this page. It’s tax deductible, and every little bit helps.