Club News

Going the extra mile for girls in Sierra Leone

Going the extra mile for girls in Sierra Leone

A group of Rotarians from the West Midlands have been using their sewing skills to help make reusable sanitary pads for charity Extra Mile.

Over in Warwickshire, the members of The Rotary Club of Rugby Saturday Breakfast have been busy making reusable sanitary towels for girls in Sierra Leone.

This is after a visit last year from Mike Fielding, Founder of the UK registered charity Extra Mile, and his wife Jan Fielding.

Mike set up Extra Mile to give some of the most vulnerable children in Sierra Leone the chance to break out of the poverty cycle through education.

This charity was behind the creation of a brand new non-denominational junior/ secondary school in Sierra Leone that provides free education, free uniforms, free breakfasts and free exam entrance to carefully selected pupils from families whose life chances were severely limited by poverty.

The school opened up in 2016 and currently has 183 pupils attending, 89 being girls and 94 of them boys.

The group of Rugby Saturday Breakfast Rotarians meet twice a month to make the reusable sanitary pads.

Following the visit by Mike and Jan, the members of Rugby Saturday Breakfast Rotary wanted to help provide resources for Extra Mile in whatever way they could.

A group of Rugby Saturday Breakfast members decided to start meeting twice a month in The Community Hub Café to make reusable sanitary towels for girls in Sierra Leone.

Using their sewing skills, the group have made more than 30 packs for Extra Mile’s girls in Sierra Leone, with the packs also including waterproof bags and several pairs of pants.

There is a nationwide shortage of sanitary products in Sierra Leone, with many girls in the country deciding not to attend school during their first menstruation due to how uncomfortable the experience is, but these reusable sanitary pads can go towards changing that.

Mike Fielding commented: “With these packs the girls can manage this excruciating time with dignity and security. They miss fewer lessons and it’s no surprise when they begin to excel in their grades.

“The staff at school issue these packs regularly but often the girls will even ask for an extra pack because they know their mum’s will probably take one for themselves!

“It is a great fellowship activity and the group also admit that they enjoy the tea, coffee and chat just as much as the feeling that they are doing something really positive to help the young girls to stay in education and improve their life chances.”