By Maryann Gubala—Wilbraham, MassachusettsI am a college student, and therefore, I am quite busy and don’t have a lot of money. Still, I’m always looking for ways to help and serve others. I believe that as a Christian, that is what I am called to do.
While I sometimes complain about classes or the workload, I am incredibly blessed to be able to attend college. I know that many people around the world, especially girls, cannot even finish high school or the equivalent. The thought that some girls stop attending school because of something natural (periods) is just crazy to me. When I heard about Sew Powerful, I knew it was a cause that I wanted to support if possible.
I remember when I was in middle school and hit puberty. I was so embarrassed by my period, even though it was completely normal and natural. I was terrified of leaking through my pants and the embarrassment that would result. I simply cannot fully imagine being in those circumstances without the disposable products specifically engineered for menstruation that we have here in the United States today.
The facts that some girls have to use rags or whatever else they can find and that many girls stop attending school because of their periods breaks my heart. Periods are annoying and painful enough without the embarrassment of leaking. I know that I would not feel comfortable going to school at all if I had to miss school for one week every month. I do not want anyone to know when that time of the month hits, even though it is a natural phenomenon.
This project reminded me how incredibly fortunate I am that I can continue life as normal when my period hits. My heart breaks over the fact that not all girls are as fortunate. This project has helped me realize how much periods can be detrimental to a girl’s schooling and therefore future. Every time my period comes, I have a newfound appreciation for access to products designed for menstruation and the ability to still go on with my day-to-day life.
As I mentioned before, I am in college. Therefore, I have limited free time and limited funds. Still, God has made a way for me to sew for Sew Powerful.
For several years now, I have been sewing for Dress a Girl Around the World. I started working with that project because it seemed like a good way to help impoverished girls, even with my time and financial constraints. I sew when I have time or just need a break from school. I do not have to be anywhere at a specific time.
Over the past few years, people have donated money and materials to the cause and that helps me continue sewing, even when my personal funds are extremely low. I never expected to still be sewing dresses several years later, but apparently God had other plans. Since I’m still sewing dresses, I have lots of scrap materials. Many of these scraps are too small for other dresses, but big enough to become parts of the Sew Powerful bags.
I also sew some things for craft fairs, and have lots of heavier weight scraps from those projects. When I heard about the Sew Powerful project, I loved the cause and realized that I had materials already available for several purses.
The pattern was a little more challenging than I was accustomed to, but I figured it was worth a try. I found that making purses was somewhat addicting; before I knew it, I had sixteen of them for the shipment in October. I had originally planned to make only half a dozen. I have also made one for myself, which sometimes serves as a conversation starter about Sew Powerful.
In addition to being a great cause (helping girls stay in school after puberty), I love how the Sew Powerful project operates. I love how women in Zambia are being trained to sew and make the hygiene kits. I believe this creates the opportunity for real lasting impact that is not possible with just handouts of pre-made hygiene kits.
The project seems like it was planned for long-term impact rather than short-term. I love programs that seek to help and serve impoverished people in strategic ways, and Sew Powerful seems to do just that. I look forward to sewing more purses as time allows. I’m thankful to be a part of this amazing initiative.