Period poverty,” the inability to afford sanitary products, is an epidemic impacting women and girls around the world. Statistics show that 40 million women and girls globally* are affected, causing many to miss work and school.
A small group at Altadena church formed to address this issue. Named the “Scrappy Sistahs,” this knitting group is putting their hands in the fight to eradicate period poverty.
After attending a Greater Los Angeles Region (GLAR) committee meeting in which Fedly Bonneau, director of Bottles 4 Life, Inc. (B4L), spoke about the menstrual hygiene issues women are facing overseas, Penny Wright, Quilting Ministry Coordinator at the Altadena church, was impressed to take action.
“When I heard the story and saw the statistics, my heart broke,” said Wright. “As a woman, I had to find a way to help my fellow women.”
B4L is a nonprofit organization providing access to proper health care mostly for migrants from Burma living in Mae Sot, Thailand.
At the meeting, Bonneau, a member of the Delaware Avenue church, shared how he carries 4,000 Always pads in his checked luggage to distribute to schoolgirls in Mae Sot. “Women there would like to make reusable sanitary napkins, but they can’t because the water-resistant cloth is not available in Thailand or Myanmar,” Bonneau later mentioned.
Members of the Scrappy Sistahs were unaminous in deciding to knit reusuable sanitary napkins to donate to B4L. The group knitted 100 reusable sanitary napkins along with 20 pouches using purchased fabric plus recycled and upcycled materials they had on hand.
Royal Harrison, GLAR director, was delighted to hear about the Altadena church knitting group and their efforts to fight period poverty. “I put out a call to the regional committee for us to take GLAR from ‘Greater to Global,’” he said. “To see this group taking on that initiative is amazing.”
“The small group is also an initiative of the GC, which has been calling for more small groups within our denomination,” he added. “So these ladies are doing a twofold ministry.”
The group hopes members of the Southern California Conference and Pacific Union Conference will join the cause to eliminate period poverty. Wright added, “I think we can all agree that there is a tremendous feeling of joy that comes when we are given the opportunity to use our God-given talents to help relieve human suffering—somewhere, anywhere.”
*Statistic taken from https://borgenproject.org/period-poverty/