Wayne teen takes action to help girls globally
Bradley Lovelace and Magnolia Ireland gain a skill while sewing kits.
WAYNE, Okla. — A program that furnishes girls in impoverished areas with washable feminine hygiene kits captured the interest of a young United Methodist in Wayne.
Magnolia Ireland said she wanted “a project that would help other girls.” She founded the local “Days for Girls” initiative with the help of her mother.
The daughter of Alanna and Pastor Bo Ireland of Wayne United Methodist Church, Magnolia is in her senior year as a homeschool student and is a 4-H member.
She also felt a calling to mentor other students, so she started a 4-H sewing club.
Magnolia leads the group as they assemble reusable sanitary kits to help girls manage their menstrual periods.
The kits are geared for girls in developing countries where disposable products are not available and the subject of menstruation is considered taboo.
“A lot of these girls would drop out of school when they reach puberty, but the kits help them to stay in school,” Magnolia said. To be able to stay in school “opens up opportunities.”
The young volunteers sew drawstring bags and leakproof shields that button around underwear. Each bag contains two shields and liners that are made of 100-percent cotton fabric.
These can be washed and dried in the sun to kill bacteria, Magnolia said.
In addition to the girls and boys in Magnolia’s 4-H chapter, members of the Wayne, Norman-McFarlin, and Norman-St. Stephen’s United Methodist Churches have helped produce the kits.
At several sew-in events, more experienced home sewers have helped make some of the more difficult components.
United Methodist Women also have donated money and materials.
Magnolia started a Facebook page, “MagnoliasDaysForGirls,” which gives contact information and describes needed supplies, such as all-cotton fabric in “dark-colored florals or geometric prints” and dark 100-percent nylon thread.
The types of prints are specified because certain fabric patterns are disallowed in some countries.
Magnolia said donated supplies for the project can be delivered to the Cleveland County Extension Office in Norman or to the church in Wayne.
The kits will go to girls in Africa and India as well as the United States. The project is affiliated with a national effort, www.daysforgirls.org.