Starfish Malawi Gateway report, Summer 2020

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Starfish Malawi has continued to produce and distribute sanitary kits to girls in primary and some secondary schools in Salima, Lilongwe and Kasungu.

From 2016 to date, 10,284 kits have been produced by our 10 sewing groups in Salima and Kasungu.

8281 kits have been distributed across over 75 schools.

This has had a wonderful impact on both the girls’ attendance and their confidence at school when starfish Chirwahaving their period, especially when interacting with boys and male teachers. There is also a strong indication that exam performance has improved.

Starfish Malawi collected yearly attendance reports for schools where they had distributed kits in May 2019. The absenteeism rate for the girls had dropped by 55-67%. In one school, the number of absent days for girls was 101 per month. After kits were distributed, it dropped to 33.

Jessie’s story

Jessie Kabisa received a kit at Kaputu Primary school. She was a brilliant student in her junior classes but her good performance started going down when she started her periods and had no protection. After receiving the kit the following year, Jessie was always in school and worked hard. She was then selected to go to a National Secondary School. She is confident that she will achieve her goal of becoming a Medical Doctor one day. Jessie said, “I am proud to say the kit has contributed to my good performance in school”.

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We have also seen women in our sewing groups improving their own sewing skills and now sewing other items to sell to increase their income. Furthermore, our programme has also provided training for other organisations across Malawi.

 

 

 

Glad Tidings Orphan Care Sewing Group

Mrs Khudze joined the Glad Tidings Orphan Care sewing group in 2015 to sew Gateway sanitary kits. She says, “Since I joined the group, my life has changed in different ways. Firstly, I learned how to sew, a thing I never thought I could do in life. As well as sanitary kits, I have learnt how to sew school uniforms, face masks etc. Secondly, the money I get from sewing the Gateway kits has helped me to pay for my son’s school fees and buy some basic needs for home. During the past farming season, I bought bags of fertilizer with the money and it brought me a high yield of maize. I am very grateful to Starfish for introducing this programme, it has really opened my eyes.”

COVID update

Sadly, the distribution and production of sanitary kits had to be suspended in March 2020 due to the closure of schools and the ban of public gatherings by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, The Glad Tidings sewing group are now focusing on making face masks. They have produced almost 5000 which are being distributed to children and adults in the community and also to health workers running the outreach clinics.

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