Bleeding Dignity

I never thought I’d be writing about sanitary towels or tampons.

Today I met Eva. She’s a 32-year-old entrepreneur. She blew me away, for two reasons:

Firstly, because she got a Masters degree in France; and then, against everyone’s wishes and common sense, she returned to Burundi because of God’s call on her life to make a difference in her nation. Very, very few people do that. Leaving the safety, opportunities and affluence of France for the instability, mass unemployment and rampant poverty of Burundi. Wow! That has to be God…

…And secondly, because she pursued me. She wrote me a letter. I read it and threw it in the bin, as I do so many requests for help. What she was doing was noble, but we can’t help everybody. Furthermore, me and sanitary towels, seriously? But she didn’t leave it at that, as most people do. She phoned me. She didn’t let go.

So we met this afternoon.

If you’re a schoolgirl in Burundi, what do you do each monthly menstrual cycle? You use some rags that don’t work anyway and suffer total indignity when you leak – or you miss school for a few days, and your education suffers. The same applies for women throughout their lives. An infinitesimally small number can afford tampons, so this is a huge problem, which half of you will understand a whole lot better than I do.

Eva visited a European designer of reusable sanitary towels to get top tips, she set up a tailoring business, she’s employing four people full-time, and she’s perfected a three-layered comfortable, absorbing, leak-proof towel – for just under a dollar!

Eva is made for this. God’s call is on her life.

And I realized, she is why I’m here. Not just Eva, but people like her. In a nutshell, GLO gets behind the most gifted Burundians of integrity to help them transform their nation on every level, to God’s glory. God can (and does) use me to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves, to empower those who need a kick-start, to invest in the best to get the best results. And our work is stunning because of the caliber of God’s people here.

I have a mother, a sister, a wife and a daughter. What wouldn’t I do to spare their indignity?

What’s your answer?

Here’s what I’m shooting for: £5,000/$6,000 to subsidise her start-up and improve the infrastructure. I will continue to journey with her on this, connecting with other groups working in this field, knocking on bigger institutional doors to ramp things up. If you resonate with the above, and want to buy into Eva’s dream, click here.

Inspired,

Simon

PS If we reach our target, then additional funds will go to other needy projects, there’s no shortage of them sadly!

5 Comments3662 views

5 comments

  • What a wonderful woman

  • Hi Simon. How can we transfer money to you?

  • Simon, we’ve been doing the same thing since 2012 just over the border from you in Kagera, NW Tanzania and now groups are working on the Burundi border and inside Burundi. If you or Eva want to get in touch, maybe we can find a way together to take a project forward and get more girls the first reliable sanitary supplies they’ve ever had, restoring dignity, confidence and days at school and work. As a woman and a mum, this is very close to my heart.

  • I’m really moved by this. It is such a basic need, what an amazing entrepreneur, I wish Eva well and I hope you get a massive response to the appeal.

  • Inspirational!

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