This Saturday, February 16, The Presser Foot, a sewing and quilting store in Longmont, will host a Sew Day for African Girls. Working with the nonprofit Empower Women In Africa, the store will provide all the materials and inspiration to create cloth menstrual pads -- and in the process help women in countries like Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya continue their education.
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The Presser Foot's owner, Melody Munson, says she was inspired to sew for the charity after hearing about its positive impact. A chance conversation with Lori Schippers, the founder of Empower Women in Africa and a former Peace Corps math teacher in Andara, Namibia, introduced Munson to the project.
Empower Women In Africa's "Empower Kits" project finds volunteers from around the world to sew reusable menstrual pads for girls in rural Africa. For these girls, living in poverty, sanitary products are often out of reach. When the girls are unable to adequately care for themselves, they end up staying home from school -- and often dropping out.
Another conversation brought home the need for this particular kind of aid for women, Munson remembers: "My daughter-in-law was speaking at conference in South Africa, and told me some horrible stories about the misinformation that is passing as 'medical knowledge' there."
Through the "Empowerment Kits," Empower Women In Africa hopes to stop the promotion of inequality -- and offer a step toward education for women. Munson says that mission is very much in line with her own values.
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From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Presser Foot at 2001 North Main Street in Longmont will fire up twenty Bernina sewing machines for the project. To participate, all you need is a knack for sewing. Patterns and fabric will be provided; Munson will also have beverages and light snacks on hand. For more information, visit the store's website.