July 19, 2021
“Even young girls grow tired and weary, even young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. Those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:30
According to the World Health Organization, 2.3 billion people around the globe lack basic sanitation services like: latrines and clean running water. Can you comprehend that number? 2.3 billion people is a third of the World’s population. Do you know these issues create unequal rights for women around the world? We didn’t either. We had not focused on this until some young girls took us to our knees and educated us.
During the Summer of 2018 a team from Mission Waco Mission World visited Haiti to celebrate the Annual Women's Empowerment Conference. MWMW also invited young girls that we had been sponsoring through education sponsorships. Our goal was to listen to these young women's experiences during the school year. One of the girls raised her voice and said, "Do you know that the money that you are paying for my education is not being used one hundred percent?" We were a bit surprised and leaned in. She continued, "Do you know that I am missing one week of school every month?" With much surprise, MWMW Director, Janet Dorrell responded with empathy, "Please tell us more about this?" All at once, in unison, all the girls said, "Our periods stop us from going to school!" Without skipping a beat, Janet responded to the young girls, "I have an idea...." and she shared a vision with these girls for more than one hour on how they could keep going to school, learn a trade and help impact women's education in Haiti.
The girls heard about how they could create a social business where they would learn how to sew reusable menstrual hygiene pads. They learned about how they could empower other women and young girls with education and the importance of access to health and hygiene products. They also heard how they could be the change they want for women in forgotten Haiti and the third world.
The girls captured the vision and JUMPED into action! Three months later, these young girls were visiting a sewing factory in Limbe, Haiti where they received several days of training.
This is the story of how Wings for Women in Ferrier Haiti took flight. It is out of a need for women to have equal access to education, equal participation to free enterprise in the marketplace and dignity to be able to walk to and from school without being embarrassed or ashamed because of blood-stained clothing due to a menstruation cycle.
During this pandemic my heart goes out to global women that are still fighting this issue. I celebrate with the ones that have the freedom to share with their girls the miracle of women’s monthly bleeding like I do with my own daughters. I also mourn with the ones that get left behind and as a result are segregated by society, unable to contribute to the economy and provide for their family just as we all desire.
Today when everyone is worried if they have enough toilet paper, water and food, I invite you to pause and reflect for a moment and think about the compounded struggle of the 2.3 billion people that lack access to sanitization, especially women of the third world. These women would love to trade places with the struggles of our first world problems. When I look into the faces of the young women that recently received the menstrual pads, true happiness takes flight as if they received a hug from equality. Yet I cannot forget the countless ones that are in their houses because they only have access to rags and river water.
My dream tonight is that all women can have wings and fly high to reach their goals; where all women can have access to feminine hygiene items like these reusable pads because no women should be left behind and forgotten because of her life-giving menstrual bleeding. After all, a man in this "man's world" cannot exist without the miracle of a woman's blood. Let us not forget.
Please consider becoming a copilot in this dream to make Wings for Women a reality and soar to new heights. For more information or to make a donation to this and other impactful programs please visit www.missionwaco.org or www.mwmissionworld.org.
Carolina Meza Clark
Mission Waco Mission World Admin Assistant