Volunteer Spotlight: Chad Humanitarian Response
April is National Volunteer (Appreciation) Month! Days for Girls is lucky to count 70,000 selfless, passionate volunteers on six continents as part of our global family. Our movement is buoyed by their collective hard work and generosity; from the sewists stitching pads to perfection, to the advocates rallying against period poverty on the national stage.
Most importantly, DfG volunteers play a pivotal role in driving sustainable change around the world – whether by supporting local leaders or by meeting urgent humanitarian needs. (Learn how volunteer roles differ between countries in this post on our Impact Zone model). Which is exactly what our U.S. Chapters & Teams are doing this spring!
In partnership with Watoto Read and the Jesuit Refugee Service, DfG Chapters and Teams are rallying to meet the menstrual health needs of 21,000 refugees, IDPs and returnees in Chad. These menstruators are among 470,000 total refugees from Sudan, the Central African Republic and Nigeria (as well as 330,000 IDPs) escaping overlapping conflicts in the region – in addition to ongoing development, poverty and socio-economic challenges. Last year, COVID-19 compounded these issues and left many refugees, IDPs and Chad returnees even more vulnerable.
We discovered the urgent need in Chad from our partners at Watoto Read: a U.S.-based nonprofit that serves refugee youth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Claudine Leary, a Rwandan refugee who co-founded and runs the organization, started it to increase opportunities for refugee girls – which includes advocating for menstrual health! Watoto Read even started their own DfG Team in Ohio (the Galena OH Team), with Claudine saying, “I can't tell you how much of a difference a DfG Kit would have made in my life as a young refugee girl.”
Now, U.S. Chapters & Teams are working alongside Watoto Read and Jesuit Refugee Service, their partner on the ground, to make sure 21,000 menstruators in 13 IDP and refugee camps can experience the life-changing magic of a DfG Kit this year.
Thanks to all the incredible volunteers who have sewn, snapped, shipped, packed and donated funds to make this a reality – especially to our Davis UT Kansas City, Missouri/Liberty MO and Pittsburgh PA Chapters for collecting and coordinating all the materials for this project (a herculean effort in and of itself).
This month and every month, our hearts are filled with immense gratitude for those who choose to dedicate their time, talent and resources toward building a brighter future for menstruators. Together, we are changing the world – one girl at a time.