Mid-July, a group of young adults took part in packing a unique kit, one that has never before been used at MCC Ontario: a Dignity Kit.
The Dignity Kit campaign, which is in its pilot phase, is a collaboration between MCC and Days for Girls, an international non-profit that provides menstrual care and education for girls and women around the world. A key feature of the Dignity Kit is colourful pads that are washable and reusable for up to three years. Previous relief kits have included disposable pads which, while meeting an immediate need, are not a sustainable solution.
“We had been sending [disposable pads] knowing they were not ideal,” says MCC Ontario Material Resources Coordinator Jon Lebold. “They create a lot of waste and we know that, especially in areas where people have been displaced or are living in refugee camps, proper waste disposal is not really a thing.” In a Days for Girls training course, Jon learned that in Kenya, for example, (where MCC has been working to increase hygiene education), female students miss nearly five days of school a month because of their periods.
According to their website, Days for Girls has already reached over one million girls around the world. The positive effects are both immediate and long term: fewer missed school days, better hygiene and health, and less stigma around menstrual bleeding, to name a few. The pads are brightly coloured and patterned to disguise staining and are shaped like wash clothes so that they can be washed and hung to dry without embarrassment.
Melanie Wigg, Director of Next Generation Engagement at the BIC conference, was thrilled when she learned that her group of young volunteer leaders would be the first to try this new pilot program. “I think it’s very exciting that MCC is doing this, and that Days for Girls is recognizing this need and having a very practical solution.”
The MCC Dignity Kit includes:
- 1 Supreme “Days for Girls” Kit
- 2 waterproof shields, 8 absorbent liners, 2 pairs of panties, 1 washcloth, 1 bar of soap, 2 ziplock plastic bags for washing and storage, and 1 care and use sheet, all packed in 1 colourful drawstring bag to hold all components (supplied by Days for Girls)
- 1 hand towel
- 1 bath towel
- 2 bars bath soap
- 1 bar laundry soap
- 1 comb
- All items packed in a 2-gallon bucket
While kit packing is a popular and important process in Material Resources, Jon Lebold reminds us that in order to pack kits, they need kit materials. “A dedicated group of about 30 volunteers can pack about $40,000 worth of relief materials in a couple hours,” he says. In order to more efficiently collect relief materials, volunteer and church groups can purchase relief materials through Material Resources so they can take advantage of volume discounts from suppliers.
MCC sends a wide range of kits to people in need around the world, including relief kits, hygiene kits, sewing kits, school kits and more. For a complete list, visit mcco.ca/kits and view the full list.
As MCC is turning 100 years old next year, so is the Material Resources department! To celebrate this milestone, there are several ways you can get involved.
Bucket of Thanks – A Bucket of Thanks (a.k.a. relief kit) is a container filled with essential hygiene items intended for a family of four. MCC distributes these buckets to people around the world. Every bucket makes a difference to someone in need! Go to mccbuckets.ca for more information.
The Great Winter Warmup – Get involved with something big—record-breaking big! We're attempting to collect 6,500 comforters to deliver to people affected by conflict and disaster around the world. A handmade comforter provides not only warmth but also a tangible message to people in places like Syria or Ukraine that their needs are not forgotten. We need your help to reach our goal of 6,500 handmade comforters by January 18, 2020. Visit greatwinterwarmup.ca for details.