School of Nursing Purchases Gift for Kenyan School
Students and teachers at the Mbaka Oromo School in Maseno, Kenya, will be receiving seven treadle-style sewing machines to help them sustain supplies for The Petal Project started by the Wegmans School of Nursing in 2012.
During a mission trip in 2011, led by Visiting Assistant Professors Drs. Karen Parker and Vivian Cunningham, the Fisher group heard about a problem at the Kenyan school where young women were suffering through their menstrual cycles with no access to sanitary supplies. A teacher at the school told them that these young women were forced to trade their bodies in exchange for money in order to purchase those supplies.
Once they returned to Rochester, the group connected with other nursing students, faculty, and women in the surrounding Rochester community to collect sanitary supplies for the young women at the schools, and The Petal Project (formerly known as Project Pad) was born. The first 100 kits were delivered in February 2012, with an additional 100 delivered that April. Last January, another Fisher group traveling to Kenya distributed 140 kits to young girls in the school, and 80 kits to young women in the community.
Parker said that thanks, in part, to funds raised by the larger campus community, the teachers and students at Mbaka Oromo School will be able to sustain the supply of the reusable pads using their own machines, which will also be used to repair and sew new uniforms for the students. Dr. Vivian Cunningham, Visiting Assistant Professor, and her family even created an instructional video and posted it to YouTube showing how to sew the pads using the machine. Two rooms at the secondary school are being reconfigured and the machines will be housed/secured on site for teacher and student use.
“Our hope and vision for sustainability have always been for them to be able to make the reusable kits for themselves. The funds raised for the sewing machines, now a place for them to be housed and the ‘how-to’ video are steps toward that vision becoming a reality and we are very excited,” said Parker.