PFI, Portland group helps Mali girls stay in school

Monday, January 21, 2019
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service, PFI teamed up with Portland’s Happy Girls Tribe to support “Mali Rising.”
     “In remote villages in Africa young girls must miss school each month when they get their periods due to the lack of supplies,” says tribe leader Melissa Allen.  “Girls fall behind in classes, and sometimes that leads to dropping out altogether.
     “We decided to take on a sewing project.  Our tribe would make cloth menstrual kits that will be taken to Mali and give girls back weeks of missed school each year.”
    Eight of Allen’s tribe members accepted the challenge.  First they made drawstring bags to hold supplies.  Next they’ll make the cloth pads.  PFI donated the machines, tools and instruction.  The tribe donated materials.  The tribe members donated their talent.
     Allen plans to deliver the kits by Spring.  “Each kit can give a girl back 45 days of school each year.”
     The Happy Girls Tribe is made up of 11-year-old girls “with a goal of building confidence and friendships through experiences together,” Allen says.  Tribe members attend Cottonwood School in southwest Portland where Allen teaches art.
     The Mali Rising Foundation aims to empower the children of Mali, West Africa by expanding and improving educational opportunities for them within their own villages.
     Another volunteer group, Days for Girls, designed the kit patterns.
     If you’d like to make your own kit to help the young women of Mali and boost their education, click the pattern and instructions below.  To learn more about Mali Rising, click here.