Our generous donors are inspired to support Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia projects for all kinds of reasons - a connection to the country, a desire to contribute to sustainable change, the hope of making life better for women and children in Ethiopia.
And sometimes, the ties are more personal.
For one of our donors - we're calling her Grace to protect her privacy - hearing about our WRAPS project (washable, reusable, affordable pads) brought her right back to an awful day in her past.
She calls it "the story of the yellow skirt."
Her family was at the Western Fair in London, Ont. and Grace was wearing her very own yellow dirndl skirt. She had sewn it herself, and she can still remember the simple pattern and round button.
"I was sitting there and all of a sudden, Niagara Falls hits," Grace recalled. Her period had arrived suddenly. When she told her mother, she scolded her for not being prepared.
Grace was just a girl, and she didn't carry a purse, so she didn't have any menstrual products with her. She resorted to washing out her special yellow skirt in the toilet in a public washroom.
"With toilet paper and brown paper towels, I tried to pack myself so I could go back and sit down," she said. She was wet, she was uncomfortable, and she felt ashamed.
"I had to lay over my mother's lap on the way home so I wouldn't get the seat wet. When I got home, I was so sore and scalded by brown paper towels. It was just awful. I'll never forget it."
When Grace read about the young women in Ethiopia who receive a WRAPS kit (those packages include eight washable, reusable pads, a few pairs of underwear, and a lined wet bag for carrying it all) she thought about that day at the fair.
In Ethiopia, many young women are forced to stay home from school when they have their periods. Products like disposable pads are incredibly expensive and can be hard to find, so some girls and women use dirty rags or even leaves instead.
"I could relate to those girls not having sanitary napkins. That's when I thought, I can surely give enough for a couple of girls to get the kits," Grace said. "I think it's great to be able to help. I've always been for the underdog, I guess."
She makes a contribution - enough to purchase several WRAPS kits - as a monthly donor for Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia.
"Most people my age can afford $15 a month. Some can afford $30, or even $60!" Grace said.
We're so grateful to Grace for turning her bad day into a reason to help other girls avoid shame and embarrassment around their periods. If only she had known as a little girl that the Story of the Yellow Skirt would help dozens of young women in Ethiopia.