International Day of the Girl- UN Women

Today I am blogging about girl power – well girl empowerment really.  October  11 is International Day of the Girl Child.  This is an initiative started by the UN to promote the rights of girls across the globe.

The objective of this day is to make people more aware of how life is for girls around the world – and the many challenges that girls face. I have included this extract from zonta international  to provide greater detail on these challenges.

Why have I blogged about this? Because I am passionate about empowering and mentoring girls today, to quip them  to lead and change the world for women (and men) tomorrow. I have enormous faith in today’s young  girls (and boys). I think they are intelligent, savvy,  tolerant and creative beings who have an insatiable  thirst for knowledge and justice and an astounding capacity to embrace and foster diversity. I believe they yearn for guidance and feed off the wisdom of those with experience. A partnership between women and girls is a formidable alliance and mentoring is key.

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Assembly of birthing kits………

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Today we held our annual birthing kit assembly day. The Zonta Sydney Breakfast Club and the Zonta Sydney East Club held a combined assembly event and packed 1000 birthing kits which will be allocated by the Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia, to a country of need (www.bkfa.org.au). Each kit contains soap, string, gloves, a plastic sheet and a sterile blade which is packed into a small zip lock bag. The kits are utilised in developing countries where mothers do not have access to hospitals

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The United Nations (W.H.O.) estimates that 385,000 women die annually in childbirth. Developing countries account for 99% of these deaths. For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections – many of which are often painful, disabling, embarrassing and lifelong.

Each day, almost 800 mothers die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. One third of total global deaths are in two countries; India (50,000 per annum) and Nigeria (40,000 per annum)

This means that on average, 1 woman in 27 dies from pregnancy-related causes. However, 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Almost all of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented. (From the BKFA website).

The objective of the Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia is to assist in the prevention of maternal and neonatal deaths associated with childbirth. the provision of the birthing kits is integral to this objective.

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Breast cancer and sewing

imageI thought you might be interested in another sewing project ie breast cushions for Zonta (www.zonta.org.au). I’ve blogged about Zonta before. Zonta is an international women’s group with a mandate to advance the political, social, economic, educational and health status of women around the world.

I am a member of the Sydney Breakfast Club and currently hold the position of Chair of Services. Translated, I coordinate our two major service programs. This post is about our breast cushions.

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The kidney shaped satin breast cushion was the brain child (I understand) of the Botany Club (Sydney). The idea of the cushion is to use it to relieve the pressure on the mastectomy/lumpectomy wound, caused by the likes of seat belts and bed clothes. But I believe patients have used them in a million different ways because they are soft and light.

The cushions are made in a variety of shades including a taupe that is suitable for males. The satin is bought by the bolt and pre cut into kidney shapes, ready to be sewn. We have a band of fantastic volunteers who construct the shells to the point where they are ready to be stuffed. Before they are completed, the Zonta logo is ironed on.

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Three times a year we meet as a group, on a Saturday to hold what we affectionately call a ‘stuffing event’ and we stuff and sew closed, about 150 cushions.

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While we are stuffing, another group wraps individual cushions in cellophane and ties a ribbon around the package.

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The individual packages are then grouped into bundles of about 50 and distributed to 3 hospitals in Sydney where surgery is performed for cancer of the breast.

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When the patient returns from surgery, there is a wrapped breast cushion with best wishes from Zonta, waiting on her pillow. Unfortunately  our supply never meets the demand. So if anyone out there has a hankering to sew some shells, I’d love to hear from you.