Posted by Cathy Bisaillon on Feb 01, 2018
We were fortunate to have Poulsbo Rotary Club’s Past President and International Service Chair, Brenda Wall, on hand on February 1 to enlighten us about the meaningful work that is being done by Side by Side South Africa. As a current Board Member of the organization, Brenda is passionate about the nonprofit’s mission, which is to come alongside South African community champions in partnership to provide critical services such as food, early childhood education and humanitarian aid for people in need. While outcomes include meal distribution, clean water provision, establishment of vegetable gardens and job training programs, Brenda focused on the work that is being done in partnership with Days for Girls.  https://www.daysforgirls.org/  
 
“Imagine the impact of missing sixty days of education and social interaction each year,” Brenda opened. This is the reality for many young women in South Africa, as they lack the health education and supplies needed to manage their menstrual cycles outside the home. The result is a cycle of poverty, ill-health and vulnerability that keep the local communities from thriving.
Game-Changer for Girls, the project that unites Side by Side volunteers and resources with Days for Girls efforts, empowered 1,677 young ladies in South Africa in 2017, and will reach more than 3,500 in 2018. By teaching the girls about human development and how to protect themselves, and then providing them with reusable feminine hygiene kits, they go from the shadows to the classroom and beyond. “I have seen these young ladies beam with pride and a sense of new hope,” Brenda shared. The project is now taking the next steps to empowering the South African residents by developing two micro enterprises that teach the ladies to sew the kits themselves and sell them to support their own growing businesses.  
 
Transforming young ladies into strong, independent women who can affect change in their countries is an infectious mission. Volunteers and funds are needed, and it is easy to get involved since both the Silverdale and Poulsbo Rotary clubs have embraced the mission. More information can be found at http://www.sidebysidesouthafrica.org/.