Material overflows for humanitarian pads project

Heather Edsall has been overwhelmed by the response to the humanitarian project she's been helping. 156680


A simple Facebook post asking for donations of flannelette and towelling so that adolescent girls in Africa can go to school has received an overwhelming response from Ocean Grove locals.
Ocean Grove grandmother Heather Edsall posted on the OGBH Community Noticeboard page asking for the materials so that she, and her sewing students, could make reusable sanitary pads to help girls in Africa attend class every day without an interruption to their education.
Many girls in impoverished African nations resort to using leaves or even dirt or they simply are unable to attend school during their period. The response Heather received was “gracious” and “huge”. Good Samaritans delivered the equivalent of 12 garbage bags full of flannelette and towelling while a group of volunteers are helping make the pads and others are volunteering as drop-off points for fabric donators.
Heather runs regular sewing classes and she said her teenage pupils are particularly enthusiastic about the project. “The teenagers are very into it,” she said.
“It’s straightforward sewing, but they’re learning a lot more than just sewing with this project.”
Heather is assistaing One Planet Classrooms, a Victorian-based not-for profit organisation that supports schools in developing countries with students in Australia. A woman from Whittlesea, who owns a caravan and holidays in Ocean Grove, saw the Facebook post and shared it, and from there it went viral. So far, Heather has been contacted by people in Perth, Cairns and Canberra willing to donate.
The original Facebook post had had 357 ‘likes’ and 93 ‘shares’. So far, Heather and her helpers have made 180 pads to send off before the deadline on 31 July. “I’d like to hit 300,” she said. “But I don’t plan to finish. It’s going to be ongoing. Helping and giving is something close to my heart. This project will be ongoing, so if anybody wants to offer help with cutting or sewing, we’d be ever so grateful,” says Heather.
Through this project, One Planet Classrooms aims to:
Keep girls in schools
Reduce the risk of disease and infection by providing girls with a hygienic solution
Bring about equality through education
Give girls a voice
The not-for-profit venture’s founder Kerryn Vaughan says educating girls and women in developing countries leads to a decrease in physical and sexual abuse, a decline in child marriages, a drop in child and teen pregnancies and a reduction in child deaths due to malnutrition.
“For every 1000 pads we create, we can help up to 200 girls maintain an education,” she said.