Do you know why 4,898 is a very exciting number?
Thanks to generous donors, that is the number of girls who received four washable cloth pads and two pairs of panties from FARM STEW in South Sudan in 2021. That is the number of girls whose lives were changed through the freedom that these pads bring.
Jennifer and Florence are two of the 4,898 girls. They attend the Model Primary School in Maridi County in western South Sudan. They and their classmates eagerly welcomed the FARM STEW team when they came to their village. In addition to providing the Afripads menstrual hygiene kit and two pairs of panties for each girl in the school, the trainers also taught about sanitation, women’s health, and menstruation.
For many of these girls, this was the first time they were taught about the miraculous design of their bodies. Women’s health and menstruation are often forbidden subjects and are considered too shameful to talk about. Twelve-year-old Florence told the trainers, “My mother did not teach me about this. I did not have any knowledge to be prepared for menstrual cycles until the day when FARM STEW came.”
Jennifer had a similar experience. “I used to think that being a girl is not good because the blood could pass into my clothes. Boys used to make girls feel ashamed, and this made me not feel good.” As a result of experiences like this, most girls do not attend school during their cycles or drop out when their menstruation begins.
But that’s not Jesus’s way. Jesus healed the woman who suffered shame from blood, commended her for her faith, and blessed her with freedom.
Florence, Jennifer, and the rest of the girls at the Model Primary School are now experiencing that same freedom. They felt joy and relief as they listened to Doreen and the rest of the trainers. The previous feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty melted away. “When FARM STEW came, I got pads and am now ready to meet the stage of menstruation. I appreciate my nature as a girl now,” Jennifer said.
“I thank FARM STEW for considering girls’ education and being mindful of us,” Florence said excitedly. “No more missing class as it was before, no more shame!”
This is the story of only two girls. It is incredible to think that the same joy and freedom was given to each of the 4,898 girls across South Sudan last year, thanks to the generosity of the FARM STEW family.
There is one more number to get excited about: 600. That is the number of pads kits currently in South Sudan waiting to be distributed when school opens again at the end of January. Because the FARM STEW family gave generously, 600 more girls will be able to experience freedom from shame, freedom to continue their education, and freedom to see themselves as the beautiful and precious women God made them.
About FARM STEW
FARM STEW is a U.S.-based Adventist lay-led ministry whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of low-income families and vulnerable people by sharing the recipe of abundant life throughout the world. The ministry coordinates nutrition and hygiene initiatives in several African countries, including Uganda, Zimbabwe, and South Sudan. It also serves South Sudan refugees in Uganda.
The ministry name FARM STEW is an acronym that stands for Farming, Attitude, Rest, Meals, Sanitation, Temperance, Enterprise, and Water.