New MCC dignity kits support vulnerable women, girls

MCC is beginning to collect and ship dignity kits that contain hygiene and sanitary items, including eco-friendly, washable menstrual pads and liners, intended especially for women and girls living in places of crisis or disaster.

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Martha Akol, 17, received an MCC dignity kit as a student at Loreto Rumbek School in South Sudan. She now has access to sustainable and reusable menstrual hygiene products and the training on how to use and care for them. MCC photo/James Jada

Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) newest resource kit will support vulnerable women and girls with dignity. The new dignity kit contains hygiene and sanitary items tailored for women and girls who don’t have ready access to the items they need and includes eco-friendly, washable menstrual pads and liners.

The first shipments of MCC dignity kits have already been sent to partners in South Sudan and Ukraine. Two shipments have been delivered to Loreto Rumbek School, an all-girls school in Rumbek, South Sudan. Nearly 1,600 kits have given students like 17-year-old Martha Akol safe and reusable hygiene options as well as something more intangible.

Akol dreams about becoming a gynecologist. She wants to teach other women about menstrual hygiene and safely deliver children into new lives. She says her dignity kit has further inspired her to work toward that goal and allows her to study with peace.

“The dignity kits help me to be clean before, during and after my periods, and I can educate other girls about menstruation because of the training and sensitization we are given here at Loreto,” Akol says.

An equally essential part of distributing dignity kits is demonstrating how to use the included items and answering questions about menstrual hygiene.

“When we were provided with the dignity kits most of us didn’t know how to use the reusable sanitary pads, but through the help of our senior woman teacher, we were able to learn how to use them which made most of us embrace their use,” says Loreto student Antonetta Ayen, 18.

The fleece pads are washable, reusable and durable enough to last for a year or longer. MCC is prioritizing shipments of dignity kits to areas where sustainable hygiene solutions are not readily available due to conflict or disaster. For women living under these conditions, sanitary pads can be prohibitively expensive for families living on an extremely limited income. MCC dignity kits relieve the financial burden from families and young women while reducing material waste.

For the cost of around $31, one MCC dignity kit contains these items packed in a two-gallon pail with a lid:

  • 1 reusable pad system, which includes:
    • 3 waterproof base units, which hold the pads in place
    • 8 absorbent fleece pads (4 large/4 small)
    • 1 transport bag
    • 3 pairs of cotton underwear
    • Instructional care and use sheet
  • 1 hand towel
  • 1 washcloth
  • 2 large bars of bath soap
  • 1 large bar of laundry soap
  • 1 wide-toothed comb
  • 1 nail clipper
  • 4 plastic or wooden clothespins
  • 4 heavy-duty safety pins

Thousands of dignity kits have already been requested by MCC’s partners working with vulnerable women, underscoring the immense need for accessible and sustainable menstrual hygiene solutions. To learn more about MCC’s dignity kits, visit mcc.org/dignity-kits.

Jason Dueck is a communications generalist from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

MCC News Service
Mennonite Central Committee is a global, nonprofit organization that strives to share God’s love and compassion for all through relief, development and peace. MCC is committed to relationships with their local partners and churches. As an Anabaptist organization, they strive to make peace a part of everything they do.

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