Lasallian Women of Hope

Fostering educational access. Empowering girls and women. Creating sustainable change.

A project of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools’ Solidarity and Development Secretariat

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$30,000 GOAL

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To help address girls’ access to education globally, Lasallian Women of Hope is assisting actively in Kenya, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Haiti, and the Congo. These projects help address obstacles young girls experience in accessing quality Lasallian education and demonstrate positive action towards the fulfillment of SDG#4.

We have set a fundraising goal of $30,000 to support Lasallian Women of Hope programs, and contributions from all RELAN schools will enable us to achieve our goal. This is one pragmatic way Lasallian students can change their good intentions of an inclusive and equitable quality education into a lived reality for young girls.

We thank you for your engagement in this global Lasallian initiative.

For questions or more ways to get involved, contact
Maryann Donohue-Lynch
Associate Executive Director, Office for Mission and Ministry

Info Sheet
Poster

“In the international arena, the mobilization of women to denounce situations that hinder fairness and respect for their fundamental rights becomes increasingly evident, as they demand the necessary conditions to guarantee their full human development. It cannot be ignored that it is necessary to redefine the way people live together, the ways in which we collaborate and connect in all areas of our social life considering the gender issue: work, family, academic, culture.”

—Declaration on the Lasallian Educational Mission 2.2.1

The mission of Lasallian Women of Hope (LWH) is to ensure girls and women enjoy full access to Lasallian education.

LWH began as a small project providing grassroots female empowerment while developing sustainable solutions to mitigate obstacles impeding educational access. Through its grants, LWH delivers creative, effective, and durable solutions to educational inequities for girls and women.

LWH started in 2016 with the Pad Project at Mwagnaza College in Nakuru, Kenya. It resulted from the discovery that young women would engage in “situational prostitution” to purchase personal hygiene products needed to attend classes during their menstrual periods.

“Period poverty” is one of many gender-specific obstacles girls and young women confront in accessing quality Lasallian education. In developing countries, 48% of girls miss up to five days of school per month when they menstruate. This “period poverty” is due to a lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, adequate sanitation, and water.

The LWH Pad Project focuses on supporting locally-based Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) educational plans, which provide women’s health instruction and personal hygiene items. This project not only promotes regular attendance and better grades but also fosters an increased sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Girls who stay in school are more likely to avoid pregnancies and be more vital social contributors as adults.

Last year, LWH provided small grants which expanded the Pad Project to other Lasallian ministries throughout the Institute. New and creative programs that address

access to early childhood education and food security are additionally under consideration for the next funding cycle.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) highlights LWH as part of a worldwide effort to provide inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all. The campaign, “Education: Let’s Build Our Future Together,” was developed by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools’ Solidarity and Development Secretariat network. The campaign encourages Lasallian schools to host classes, financially support and energetically promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) to “ensure universal access to inclusive and equitable quality education.”

Moving Forward

COVID-19 has significantly impacted Lasallian educational ministries worldwide. The needs of girls and young women are greater due to the unique situations that the pandemic has imposed upon them. LWH plans to continue to fund current projects and to expand to provide funding for the following proposed LWH projects:

  • Haiti: Education and food insecurity
  • Kenya: Pad Project in additional Lasallian ministries
  • South Africa: Preschool education for girls

PROJECTS

Mwangaza College

NAKURU, KENYA

Pad Project, Programming for the Advancement of Women


It was a secret: some young women at Mwangaza College in Nakuru, Kenya, would turn to “situational prostitution” to purchase the feminine products they needed to attend classes. Upon realizing this dehumanizing situation, the Lasallian Women of Hope (LWH) program was created.

The LWH program initially sponsored the Pad Project, which provided female personal hygiene products to girls so they could uninterruptedly attend school. But it didn’t stop there. Beyond personal hygiene needs, the project offered socio-educational conversations for women to share safe, open and informative conversations about reproductive rights. Recognizing its role to address educational inequities, the school developed additional women’s programming and projects, including personal and group counseling, as well as celebrations of women’s events.

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Project Sheet
Mwangaza College

“ Lasallian Women of Hope is a powerful program which has transformed the lives of many young women in our college. The program has helped our girls have some basic things which were beyond their reach. We are very grateful to the program and those who contribute toward this life-changing activity.”

Brother Oscar Okoth, FSC, principal, Mwangaza College

“ I am so grateful for this program as it not only helps me to stay in school but it helps me to know I am not alone. I feel supported in my education.”

Female Student

Lasallian Family of Papua New Guinea

PAPUA NEW GUINEA, OCEANIA

Pad Project, Hygiene Hampers, 2022 Women’s Symposium, Lasallian Women Advocates for Change


When Lasallian Women of Hope (LWH) shared their expanding mission and hopeful aspirations during the 2017 International Lasallian Women’s Symposium (Auckland, New Zealand), the 22 representatives from Papua New Guinea (PNG) were thrilled. They realized that finally, assistance might be possible for girls living in remote PNG areas. Many of these girls might be completely unfamiliar with soap or a sanitary pad. Coalescing under the PNG Lasallian Family Office, the women boldly applied for an LWH grant.

But they didn’t stop there. The symposium participants worked together to establish Lasallian Women Advocates for Change, a branch of LWH that focuses on educating, organizing, and advocating issues affecting girls and women in Papua New Guinea. Many women are unfamiliar with female hygiene products because of PNG’s geographically dispersed tribal units and linguistically separated niches (over 800 different languages are found in the country). In academic settings, LWH addresses the needs of young Papuan girls attending classes by providing them with socio-culturally appropriate education on women’s issues and female hygienic products, facilitating class attendance during menses.

An innovative Hygiene Hampers Project used LWH funding in September 2020 to airlift 320 hygiene hampers filled with sanitary pads, underwear, soap, and toothpaste to girls in 10 rural and five urban schools.

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Project Sheet

“Almost everything in the package was new to them so I demonstrated how to use those things. It was so emotional during our discussion. The girls were so excited but most of all they were so proud and happy. I could see that they were thinking and wishing that they could be able to use such things every day in their lives but they are unable to do that. That really touched me, and I was silently in tears. They didn’t know how to say thank you because they thought that their thank you won’t be enough.”

Karen Mondo, teacher, Hobe Primary School

Tsholofelo Community Squatter Camp

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Pad Project, Sewing Project, Early Childhood Development Program & Teacher Training


Rustenberg, South Africa, is brimming with employment-seeking platinum mine-workers who live in squatter camps. These squalid areas pose challenging living conditions for females. Young girls are particularly vulnerable, as many of them lack reproductive education and, believing menstrual periods to be a sickness, girls stay away from schools during their periods. Unanticipated pregnancies are common.

In the midst of this, the Tsholofelo Community provides women with a safe location for relaxation, skills training, medical care, HIV treatments, and community-based social activities.

Thanks to an FSC Foundation grant, LWH initiated a project last year that provides both Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) training and female hygienic products to girls attending school. Approximately 100 girls were invited to participate in this initial LWH program. To help provide ongoing funding for hygienic supplies, this LWH project funded sewing machines and instructors, which enabled women to manufacture traditional African shirts for international purchase. Through this skills-based training, the profits from sales will provide enduring funding for the Pad Project and expanded MHM education.

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Project Sheet

“ To be a Lasallian Woman of Hope is a window into the lives of others and gives a glimpse of how we can be an instrument of hope and change in those lives.”

Mary Hyam

Tumba Community

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Pad Project, Programming for the Advancement of Women


Girls typically do not go to school in Tumba. That’s because many families are impoverished, needing help with domestic chores, and managing their subsistence-level farms. If a family can free up a child to go to school, a male typically is selected.

Fortunately, a Lasallian primary and secondary school offer tuition-free educational instruction to 385 children who live in this remote area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With remarkable sensitivity to the plight of girls, a group of religious Sisters partners with the Brothers to oversee a residence for girls. At this location, the Sisters mentor young girls, some of whom may have babies, and encourage them to continue their education. Through the Pad Project, a Menstrual Hygiene Management program has been established for residents, and they have been provided personal hygiene supplies for a year. This LWH program helps to transform the girls’ understanding of themselves positively and gives them a renewed desire to

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Project Sheet

“ Thank you for everything you do for us. May God bless you and give to you whatever you lack. Live Jesus in our hearts, the daughters of Saint La Salle.”

17 female students, Tumba Community, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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www.LaSalleInternational.org
LasallianWomenofHope@gmail.com
LasallianWomenofHope@gmail.com