Grandma Martha Hygiene Kits for Girl Project was founded by Martha Taylor of Branson Missouri and myself, Mystraine (Missy) Onoh who is a native of Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti during the height of covid-19 while we were sewing mask for the local first responders, hospitals and members of the community. Grandma Martha cared deeply about young girls in Haiti having had traveled to Haiti many times on missions' way before God set it in motion for our paths to cross. While we spent many hours a day that turned into months of sewing together, a moment became very real when Martha asks me what girls use during their period in Haiti not knowing that need had been a concern in the back of my mind for years. As a Haitian native from a remote village in Haiti I very experienced how life was when I first had my first period. There was no education being offered at school. That was not the norm. So, it wasn't something that I thought about it until I came to the U.S. and had taken my first health education class. It was a complete taboo to even talk about menstruation and not much has changed still today. I shared when I first had her period, I didn't know anything. I didn't even know what disposable period pads were because it was not something that was ever available at the 'marchee' (market days). I remember my mom was not in town when it first happened. Thankfully my caregiver was very easy to talk to, and she explained what was happening to me. She went to my mother's bedroom and came out with a white sheet. She ripped into pieces big enough to fold and use as sanitary pad. I remember staying home from school every time I had my period. I remember being scared throughout my early teen years growing up in Haiti thinking what if I have my period at school. What am I going to do. I don't recall my mom or the caregiver at the time ever talked to me about my period again or how often it happens and how to prepare for it. How ever I remember her telling me that I could not shower, or walk too fast, or play outside with a list of a lot of things I could not consume while I was in my period. It wasn't until I came to the US that I learned about and seen my very first period pad at the age 15. What started as a simple question turned into a full project of sewing hygiene kits for girls in my birth village and the project is growing because the need is great.
Unfortunately, Grandma Martha passed away a few months after we started the project before she even saw our first kits being distributed. This project is greatly part of her legacy. I know Grandma Martha is pleased with what we are continuing to strive to do in carrying this project forward.
It is the desire that God placed on our hearts to introduce these kits where they will be a blessing as we continue to support schoolgirls in Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti to help them stay in school and learned like everyone else.
Majority of School in Haiti started on September 11 this year. With that being said, our goal this year is to help educate and equip 400 girls/women from 4 different local schools in Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti about puberty and sexual reproductive health. We don't only teach girls and women, boys/men are part of our education program also. We place more emphasis on girls because we know monthly period affects girls the most. Every year girls miss an average of 30 days of school or work per month because of their period due to lack of access to feminine hygiene products. During our last Health Education class, a year ago, we asked the girls in the class how accessible period pads were to them in the village. 75% of them expressed that they weren't able to afford disposable period products and often times they simply aren't available for purchase. With your support, we aim to change that statistic one classroom at a time until no girl misses school because of their period. Period!
Hope for a Village, a nonprofit public charity organization, aims to restore hope as it works towards community development, sustainable projects, health education and nutrition and youth education in and around the town of Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti. As an organization we strive to make a direct impact in the lives of the families we work with for Christ through team building, trust, relationships with the communities, health education, and other various needed projects.
Hope for a Village Founder and President Mystraine Onoh is a native of Cotes-de-Fer (CDF). CDF is a remote village in southeast Haiti. She lived there with her family until the age of 15 when she moved to the United States. Missy has been a resident of Branson Missouri for 20 years. Missy has been serving this community as Licensed Practical Nurse for the past 13 years in various nursing capacity. Majority of her nursing career has been in the Home Health Sector, Family medicine, in home Pediatrics special needs nurse. She is currently a Multispecialty nurse with one of our local hospitals.
It is both our pleasure and a joy for us to share a little bit about the Haitian culture with our supporters, especially those who have never been to or heard of Haiti.
Haitian cuisine is one of the most underrepresented culinary cuisines in many parts of the world. Contrary to popular perceptions, Haitian food is not spicy we may think, but it is full of flavors that sure to leave your palette asking for more. Come, bring your friends to experience some of Haiti's food culture with us at the benefit luncheon. With colorful ingredients and big, bold flavors, Haitian food offers some of the best dishes that Latin America has to offer.
Kit distribution day In Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti
If you are not able to attend and you would like to support our mission, please make a donation by clicking the support link bellow.