Grandma Martha Hygiene Kits for Girls was created by Missy Onoh and Martha Taylor in June of 2020.
As a native of Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti, Missy our founder knows very well how difficult it is to have menstruation supplies needed to use every month. Martha Taylor is not a stranger to Missy's native land. When they started a project to sew mask for the Branson community during the start of the pandemic, they had a lot of time to chat. Grandma Martha asked Missy what girls use and how do girls have access to menstruation pads on a regular basis knowing how it is in the Northen area where she visited back in the 1980s.
Martha Taylor Co-Founder of "Grandma Martha Hygiene Kits for Girls Project"
Martha Taylor, age 78 of Branson, MO, passed away on November 5, 2020 due to complications associated with COVID-19 in Springfield, MO at Mercy Hospital.
She was born September 13, 1942, in Excelsior Springs, MO and was daughter to Cornelius ‘Connie’ and Ruth Golden. She married Robert ‘Bob’ Taylor on June 11, 1960, in Excelsior Springs, MO. Together they owned and operated Quality Equipment in California, MO. She also taught at Head Start, decorated cakes, offered office services, and partook in many other entrepreneurial ventures with Bob over the years. She served as cook and in other capacities at Main Street Baptist Church, then later at New Beginnings Fellowship in Hollister, MO. She always had a passion for missions work and made trips to Haiti and locations across the United States.
After retiring, she and Bob moved to Branson. She continued to use her love of sewing to design and make dresses and shorts for children that have been sent all over the world through Operation Christmas Child and other organizations. Recently, she began making feminine kits for girls in Haiti, and she sewed and gave away nearly 3,000 masks since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak this year. She was always ready for an adventure be it travel, crafts, game nights, cookouts, camping, making birthday cakes, spending time with her grands, adopted grands, and any other family and friends. She always had a guest room available for those who needed a place to stay, and she looked forward to making dinner for anyone who had time to stop by.
We are Getting ready to start sewing kits for Grandma Martha's Hygiene Kits for Girls Project. Our goal for 2023 / 2024 is to introduce this project to four new schools. 2 schools in the fall and 2 more in the spring at the start of the new school year in the Village of Cote-de-Fer (CDF).
Did you know so many menstruating girls and young women miss schools because of their periods, forcing them to stay at home on bleeding days?
Last spring, we introduced the project at the National School in Villa with Director DISNA at a remote village in the Cotes-de-Fer area. The project was well received. 50 young men and 50 young ladies took part in that Health education. The ranging in ages from 12 to 18. During the health education class, we asked the girls how accessible period pads were to them. 75% of the girls expressed they are not able to afford the disposables pads, and sometimes it simply not available for purchase in that particular village and other remote villages like Cotes-de-Fer and further up the mountains. As a result, a lot of the girls stay home on bleeding days. With this program girls are able to be free to attend class and are able to manage their periods during school hours.
Investing in menstrual hygiene management for girls does not only improve school attendance, but girls also don’t feel the shame and stigma associated with period.
We distributed sustainable menstrual kits to the 50 young ladies after participating in the class. We had very lively discussions on female and male anatomy, abstinence, sexual reproduction in human, family planning, safe sanitary hygiene practice, how to self-protect and protect others, respecting their bodies as a holy temple of God. They are taught how to properly use the kit and how to care for it. When we asked if they feel more ready to face their periods after completing the class; 100 percent had their hands raised. The boys stated they had a better understanding of the signs of puberty in males, better understanding that periods are a normal biological health thing a girl’s body goes through. The young men were committed and felt more equipped to help reduce the stigma girls face with periods and not take part in stigmatizing girls.
We then have a separate training with members of the school office. This time it was the school’s secretary. They are the best candidate to learn how the kits are prepared, and how to repair or replace snaps when needed since the students feel more at ease with them. A repair kit was left with the office with extra pads for when a student has an emergency. The school is encouraged to have safe, private restroom or outhouse for girls to use with access to hand soap and water readily available to promote proper hand hygiene.
We are excited about this program and the difference it is currently making for the students currently using the pads and future schools that will benefit from this education, especially women and girls. Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I have no doubt mama Martha smiles every time a girl uses her kit. Some of them made by her own hands, some by her granddaughter Stephanie Alicia. We miss her dearly.
Grandma Martha Hygiene Kits for Girls Team!