Amina’s Dream Project is an initiative of Watoto Read to specifically address barriers to refugee girls’ education. According to UNICEF, less than 40% of girls complete primary school. Only 11% of girls go on to secondary school. During a 2018 trip to Goz Beida, Chad, our team learned that a disproportionate number of middle school girls stop attending school when they begin their periods because they have no means to manage their menstrual cycle. There are no supplies and few bathrooms for girls to attend to their feminine hygiene needs. During this 2018 trip to Goz Beida, Watoto Read’s Executive Director, Claudine Leary, had an opportunity to ask a group of middle school girls what they wanted to be when they grew up. A young girl named Amina raised her hand and she stated she wished to become the Prime Minister because she knew that leaders have the ability to make changes in their community. The only way Amina’s dream could be realized was through the hope and power that education offers. Watoto Read’s first initiative of Amina’s Dream Project is to provide menstrual hygiene supplies, so refugee girls do not drop out of school when they get their periods.

Watoto Read is partnering with Days for Girls International to provide menstrual hygiene products to middle school girls. Days for Girls has developed an ingenious patented kit that includes waterproof shields and absorbent liners which act as reusable feminine pads. The kit also includes a reusable bag for storing soiled hygiene items, underwear, soap, and washcloths. These are all provided in a discreet colorful drawstring bag. Each kit lasts for up to 3 years. The kits are provided to refugee girls along with reproductive health education. These kits will help girls stay in school, build their confidence, inspire vital conversations around female health, leadership, and safety as well as preserve dignity…all through addressing periods.

A complete patented Days for Girls menstrual hygiene kit sewn by local sewers.

In March 2020, Watoto Read shipped over 300 menstrual hygiene kits to Goz Beida, Chad as a part of Amina’s Dream Project. Amina’s Dream Project is Watoto Read’s initiative to specifically address barriers to refugee girl’s education. Watoto Read’s ultimate goal is to assist the refugee women in creating their own Days for Girls enterprise where they can manufacture and sell the menstrual hygiene kits themselves. A local enterprise would empower refugee women by providing a source of employment and income for the women and their families.

Watoto Read is seeking partnerships with sewing groups to create the Days for Girls menstrual hygiene kit fabric components. If you would like more information on how you can get involved with Amina’s Dream Project, email Casey.Wilson@watotoread.com.