I met Dr. Ugochi Ohajuruka the first time I went to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in 2017. As I filmed her, I was so taken by her desire to lift women out of poverty and give girls the correct maturation knowledge and tools to build a good foundation for the future. I was also a new member of the Rotary Club where my husband and I would attend district conferences. At these conferences, I found out about the life-changing projects clubs were doing all around the world. I suppose you can see where this led me.
Dr. Ugo is the CEO of an NGO entitled, “Health Initiative for All.” Through her NGO, women learn to sew and start businesses. Girls learn about maturation in health clubs that are set up in the schools. She has also been an advocate against FGM (female genital mutilation). Through her contacts she found the APO Rotary Club of Abuja.
This club is very active but has never done a global grant, so they are very excited about participating. Dr. Ugo and I wrote the grant with the help of the APO Rotary Club of Abuja Nigeria. We began the process with the Enugu Nigeria Rotary Club but changed clubs during the process as the original club was 700 miles away. The cost of travel and security was too expensive.
Grant Main Objectives:
- To create support for menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in three communities, five schools, and two IDP camps (Internally Displaced Persons Camps) for dispelling myths, taboos, and stigma around menstruation.
- To empower women and girls with MHM materials and education, which will be provided to teachers, mothers, and girls in three communities, five schools and two IDP camps.
- To create businesses for 45 women from three communities and 40 women in two IDP camps by providing them with 58 sewing machines and 85 “Enterprise Starter Packs,” and by teaching them how to produce MHM Kits for women and girls.
As a result of this project over 1200 Days for Girls supplies will be distributed and 85 women will learn to sew and set up their own businesses. They will also meet with village chiefs and families, in five villages, to educate them to dispel the stigma associated with the menstrual cycle.
The Rotary Club of Spanish Fork has been very supportive and generous, and Big Ocean Women also gave a generous amount. We are to the point where we will begin wiring money to a designated bank in Abuja. As soon as we have $15.5 thousand in that account, the Utah Rotary, as well as Rotary International, will more than match that amount. The total amount that will be given to this project is $51 thousand. However, Rotary International will match any extra funds that are given. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation you may Venmo:
or send a check to:
Rotary Club of Spanish Fork
PO Box 491
Spanish Fork, Utah 84660.
I often think of Dr. Ugo’s words, “It brought tears to my eyes knowing that I have changed a women’s life entirely, just with a sewing machine.”
Photo credit: Jenette Jenkins for the beautiful pictures of African women and girls.