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Our Days with the Girls: A wonderful experience with Chapala girls

Our Days with the Girls: A Wonderful Experience with Chapala Girls!

-The Fluye sessions and distribution we conducted in November in José Vasconcelos secundaria school in Chapala were pure magic.  It felt to me that we are reaching our ideal with our work with the girls with full integration and participation.  The girls made a precious womb with flowers and their drawings while others sang around the circle to support the activity.  When the visual of the womb was finished, we “opened the circle”.  I created the intention for our “girls’ prayer” asking the girls to follow my words of intention.  The girls had their eyes closed and their hands over their hearts.  The silence and the energy in the room showed that they were feeling this profoundly. I then invited them to bring their drawings to the womb illustration they had created on the floor while saying out load what they liked and what they valued most about the whole experience.

 And the girls started to share, each one of them, with their most authentic words and feelings, what they felt.  The majority of them cried while sharing.  They all said that they valued having such an extraordinary space to connect with each other, to experience the sisterhood that I had told them about on our first Fluye day together.  

They thanked me and Days for Girls so, so, so much.  I wish I had recorded them so that you could listen to the way they expressed their gratitude with tears of joy and sadness as they didn’t want the Fluye sessions to end.  It was extremely touching and true.  I knew that much of the crying was caused by the intensity of the words we shared, so when the circle ended, I started to sing and they all joined and the energy shifted.  Then, I told them it was time for their present from DFG.  I reinforced the messages they had learned about sustainable menstrual management and then showed them the kits and did the representation of the use and care of it that makes us laugh so much and which we always enjoy.  They were all back to the center and laughing by the time we gave them their kits.  Just look at the group picture.  It takes me there to that place which now lives inside me, where I KNOW we are doing the right thing. 

 We are blessed and we are a blessing to every girl we reach.  

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Hana’s Blog:A Special Report

Have you ever wondered about the topics covered during a Fluye week?

Here is great example in which Hana describes an excellent week with San Pedro Itzican girls:

The week “flowed” so gracefully and joyfully, I hardly felt any tiredness driving and executing the class. This group of girls were since day 1 absolutely respectful, receptive and willing to learn and live the experience fully. Of course they are San Pedro girls: shy and reserved. But still, they showed a lot of interest, just by being completely attentive to the class and with their energy focused in what I was saying and doing ALL the time. This is not very frequent, as usually, although girls are loving, happy and excited to receive us, there is a certain level of undiscipline and more or less a struggle to keep their attention during the whole class. But not here. These girls wouldn’t even blink. Of course they would laugh a lot with my silliness and the gags I’ve learned that works to connect with them, so I know they were involved at every moment, but I can hardly believe how easy-going (a real delight!) it was to be in front of this class.  Plus, their teacher was there with us since day 2, and it was wonderful to have her presence and backup.

It was also very interesting what happened with the teacher, because on the first day she came she seemed a little rigid, I would say even suspicious. But  by the time the class finished, she was smiling. This was day 2. Sexual anatomy, sex and consent day 🙂 As any of the girls didn’t actually share anything on the circle after the stories, the teacher said something like: “Girls, no one has ever come here to the school to talk about this. I’ve been in this school for many years and I know the struggles of the girls regarding this matter, in this town. Let’s listen deeply. Let’s take these lessons with us and think seriously about it. We can change things. You can! This is very valuable.” The girls said “yes” with their heads and looked at each other. It was a deep moment without words. Then we sang, and thats when all their voices were raised. The teacher sang too. Later she told me she will teach this song to every girl she could. It made me shiver!

So the teacher became the most enthusiastic singer, and she also participated  a lot during the class on the next day. I kept looking at her in the eyes and commenting to her so she could feel confident enough to share her thoughts at any time, and so she did. It was day 3, menstrual cycle day; a joyous experience teaching this in such a favorable atmosphere. The class was 2:30 hours without any breaks, and so amazing. I blended the menstrual cycle map exercise with the cycle-altar that explains the physiology of the cycle and fertility awareness learnings.  It was a complete success. After the class and the girls had gone, the teacher stayed with me and while helping me pick up everything, she shared many of her reflections about the class. She said it was so eye-opening for her, and she felt like most of us women feel when we learn all this: why didn’t I know this before? What are we going to do to teach this to everyone else? It was an amazing conversation that ended up in the very strong possibility that we do a Fluye cups in Poncitlan that she will organize with community leaders and her daughters.

And distribution day was a great final closing to this beautiful week. All the girls, except two, brought their drawings and put a lot of effort into them. They participated in the activity with enthusiasm and I was finally able to get words out of them in the final circle; asking them what was that they cherished more and liked more of the whole program. And they gave us their honest amazing answers. I’m 100% satisfied with his group. A happy distribution with a lot of joy. They wouldn’t leave the room! They wanted to continue singing… and so they did, as I was picking up all my things they didn’t stop, until it was over… Inspiring! Thank you DFGLC for making this happen!

My Days with the Girls. September-October 2019

By Hana.

It has been an ambitious season with our work with the girls.  In September we started a pilot project, implementing our education and distribution program covering entire schools for the first time in two secundarias: Esteban Baca in San Pedro Itzican, and José Vasconcelos in Chapala.  Each school has around 600 students, so it will take us almost the whole school year to accomplish our goal of reaching #EveryGirl in each of these schools, but we are making great progress. It is our hope that reaching every girl will create a greater lasting impact within each of these communities.  

Thanks to the addition of Elena as our New DFG Ambassador, we have been able to execute three week-long Fluyes in each school, and an extra special Fluye with the Brigadistas group in San Pedro.  We have been able to accomplish the distribution of 140 sustainable menstrual management kits in the past two months. With each kit, every girl is provided ten hours of invaluable menstrual education that breaks the taboo around periods and establishes a foundation of body knowledge that leads to better decisions in life.  We know we are making a difference, not only for each girl but for her community and for our future. 

The two schools are very different.  It´s so interesting to see how girls the same age can be so contrasting, depending on their environment. San Pedro girls are very shy and quiet.  They lack so much, including healthy nutrition and a safe environment. And although the school and many groups are working tirelessly for this community, there are still many challenges the girls face now and will face throughout their lives. 

In the words of Juan Alberto Ahumada, the school principal of San Pedro´s school, “Our work is crucial.”  He told us that teachers and mothers applaud our efforts and encourage us to continue. The older girls have a great deal of anticipation for their turn to receive the program.  They have talked with their friends and they can’t wait to receive their own kits.

Chapala girls are the opposite – boisterous and passionate.  They are more acquainted to using technology. Many of them text me to let me know how much they cherish the experience and how they are using their kits and teaching other girls and women in their families what they have learned.

What all girls have in common is that they are ready for these tools and education. They receive what we are here to offer them with all their hearts and minds. They are grateful for knowing that menstruation is really one of our powers, and to understand how our female body works. They love having a female circle to talk about boyfriends, sex, consent and violence prevention. They finish their week wanting it to never end.

One of the days I was in Chapala, one girl from the first group that received our program when we first established contact there in May, came running to me, hugged me and whispered in my ear: “I had my first period last month. I used my kit. And I love it!” She’s the girl in the picture and her smile reflects that moment. That special connection is what we have with #EveryGirl we serve. Thank you Days for Girls for letting them become #EducatedEmpweredAware.

Hana

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I Will Rise – Watch the Video!

I Will Rise

 – “I Will Rise” is an original song written by Hana.  It has a powerful message – that girls’ aspirations are meaningful and that they have the drive necessary to reach their dreams. If we believe in them, and support them with what they need, they will soar, they will thrive, they will succeed.

Empowering girls is the answer for enduring change and a better future.
Let’s continue to encourage their strength, as they keep spreading their wings…

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Days for Girls in Conecciones

Days for Girls in Conecciones Magazine

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“Are girls too young to...”.

The Lake Chapala Society’s monthly publication Conecciones published a moving article in their October issue written by Hana.  Hana has been our Menstrual Health Ambassador since we began our local Team here at Lake Chapala in late 2016.  Read about her perspective on shattering stigmas and empowering girls.
 
(Download the magazine at the bottom of the page for easier reading.)
 
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Menstrual Cups Added to our Program

Menstrual Cups Added to our Program

We have received two grants  from St. Andrew’s Anglican Church to purchase menstrual cups as an experimental pilot program.  A menstrual cup is a small, flexible, funnel-shaped cup made out of surgical grade silicone.  It is inserted into the vagina to collect, rather than absorb, menstrual fluid.  Menstrual cups overall are a much healthier option for a woman’s body than using disposable pads or tampons. 

We targeted girls ages 16 and up in high schools and young, working mothers.  Upon completion of the education sessions, participants were allowed to choose between our two sustainable menstrual management options.  About 50% chose cups and 50% chose the hand-sewn washable pads and shields.  During the six-month pilot program, an average of 20 cups monthly were distributed in six lakeside communities:  Jocotepec, El Molino, San Pedro Itzican, San Pedro Tesislan, San Cristobal, and Chapala.  

We will continue to provide the option of kits containing menstrual cups when it is age-appropriate.  Although the cups are a more expensive sustainable menstrual management method than the washable pads, the cups last up to 12 years, making them a great cost-effective alternative in the long-run for our DFG program participants, in addition to their health and wellness benefits.  

Elena

New Ambassador Joins Hana

New Ambassador Joins Hana

Please join us in welcoming Elena Ceballos, our new Menstrual Health Ambassador.  Elena has completed her on-line training with Days for Girls International and will assist Hana by conducting additional Fluye Educational programs with classes of girls in lakeside schools.
 
Elena shadowed Hana in a community-based Fluye in Zapotitan and in the high school Fluye in Jocotepec during August and will begin her solo classes in September at San Pedro Itzican secundaria and José Vasconcelos secundaria in Chapala. 
 
She will work on a part-time basis and lead one Fluye session each month until the end of the year.  The addition of Elena will help our team to reach even more girls and to provide more Fluye programs.  We are excited to expand our services with the addition of a second professional educator. 
 
Elena has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and school principal in Mexico City.  She completed her Masters Degree in Sexual Education in 2015.   Elena has a great interest in discovering the needs of the younger generation and exploring ways of connecting with them.  Elena’s teaching abilities and professional experience make her a natural facilitator for our DFG program.  
 
Elena said this about joining our Team:  “What I have learned in my own professional practice is that sexual education is one of the main subjects that will make a change in people’s lives. They will make better decisions, they will know and respect their bodies, have healthy and better relations and understand the flexibility of roles. 
After learning about Days for Girls Lake Chapala and seeing the work that the team is doing, I see that we now have the opportunity to help young girls make better choices, thereby allowing them as they mature to have a more safe, mindful and enriched sex life.  I am convinced that with menstrual management and sexual education DFGLC is helping girls gain control over their own lives.  It is unmistakable that these tools serve not only them, but our society in general.
 
I’m grateful and eager to work in this beautiful and powerful organization.”