Help girls in the developing world, in Arden Hills

Days for Girls, an international program to keep girls in school while they have their periods, has provided more than 100,000 girls and women in the developing world with hygiene kits to help them.

Deb Nygaard, a project volunteer through the Roseville Rotary Club, says the program is now holding regularly scheduled sewing events on the first Sunday of each month, with a couple of exceptions, to make the hygiene kits.

Without such hygiene kits, girls in remote countries could be forced to miss school during their periods, sometimes skipping food and water, as they struggle with hygiene by using use leaves, corn husks or even cow dung to manage their periods, which can lead to infections. Missing school can lead to a number of difficulties for young women.

Days for Girls was set up to provide washable hygiene kits to help girls remain in school. The kits contain moisture barrier shields and pads made of flannel that they fit inside, a gallon-size freezer bag for transporting soiled items and for soaking them in a small amount of water, two pairs of underwear, one washcloth, a travel-size bar of soap and a drawstring bag to put the items in that can later be used as a book bag.

After such hygiene kits were distributed in Uganda, school absence rates dropped from 36 percent to 8 percent, and in Kenya, from 25 percent to 3 percent.

“It’s an inspiring thing in which to participate, and the winners are all the girls in developing countries whose lives will be so powerfully and positively impacted,” Nygaard says.

At the sew-a-thon, there will be fabric to cut and bags to iron and string. Donations are also needed, such as zippered gallon freezer bags, washcloths, hotel-size bars of soap, washed 100-percent cotton flannel in dark and wild colors, and girls underwear, sizes 8 to 14.

Sew-a-thons are set for Sundays from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Arden Hills City Hall, 1245 Highway 96, on the first Sunday of every month, except for April, July and September, when it will be the second Sunday. The next event is April 8.

Volunteers are needed. Come at noon for a potluck and bring a dish to share. Please refrain from wearing a fragrance.

For more information, go to or contact Nygaard at


– Pamelia O’Meara can be reached at or 651-748-7818

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