Interview: Carrie Shiu, Founder: Days For Girls@Yangon
In a remote village outside Yangon, Carrie began talking to girls who’d recently turned 9. Her message was ‘All women are beautiful and powerful naturally. That means that periods are beautiful too.”
“In most of the villagers, no-one educates the girls why they bleed, it’s just too shameful to talk about. Can you imagine? We’ve met girls who use bark to hide the blood, or any cloth or paper. The reality is that if you don’t understand why you are menstruation, it’s scary and can carry shame.”
Days For Girls each Thursday brings together up to 30 volunteers meeting at the America Club to sew pads and prepare kits.
These pads are hygienic, 100 percent cotton, and reusable for around 3 years.
After a 1-hour lesson, girls are given a pretty bag with a small soap, hand towel, underpants, menstruation chart and pads.
Yangon based Days For Girls@Yangon aims to produce up to 200 kits annually with distribution in the Yangon region and eventually throughout Myanmar.
A priority is working with girls in monasteries and orphanages providing access to women’s hygiene education.
In 2017 Carrie left Hong Kong for Yangon.
“I want to devote my energy to efficient and sustainable work that educates and changes lives. Days For Girls does exactly that”.
Since 2008 the organization has worked to empower girls, and to protect themselves, working in 100 countries and having distributed 1 million kits in Africa and internationally.
Carrie welcomes volunteers, partnerships, material and cash donations.
Visit: Days For Girls
The Great Charity Choice? Bang Or Glitter For Your Buck?
Myanmar people are recognized as being generous in giving money and other support to others, second to the United States. So how do we choose a charity that’s effective and not funding executive’s lavish conferences in the Bahamas?
In 2011 philosopher Peter Singer caused a storm when he questioned why you’d donate to charities like Make-A-Wish. In 2018 the US branch raised US$130.93 million granting critically ill children’s wishes. Supported by 11,000 volunteers and significant resources Make-A-Wish transformed San Francisco into Gotham City granting a wish from nine-year-old ‘BatBoy’ that had gained national attention.
How many homeless families could be fed had the resources been donated to Yangon’s Food Not Bombs?
Then there’s corruption. 7.5% of donations to impoverished nations end up in tax havens like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
What’s “effective altruism” asked Singer? How do we know our donations will have a high impact? 25% of people live below the poverty line in Myanmar, and COVID-19 has increased hardship.
So, throw your hands in the air and cry, how can I help?
Peter Singer’s Pick Of “Effective Altruism” Charities/NGO’s: The Life You Can Save, Assesses charities that appear to have maximum impact.
GiveWell, researches and highlights organization that have a demonstrated impact and cost-effectiveness programs.
Global Giving works with NGOs providing training and tools to be more effective and ensures transparency and accountability.
Here is a list of some of the NGOs that operate in Myanmar, to which donations can be made to assist them in their work:
Actionaid works with people displaced by ethnic tensions or fighting with a focus on developing women’s business, and supporting victims of domestic violence.
Association for Aid and Relief, (AAR Japan) supports of victims of landmines to improve their lives and vocational training school for children with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA), BirdLife Myanmar works with 18 Local Conservation Groups.
Daw Khin Kyi Foundation founded by Aung San Suu Kyi to improve education, health and living standards of the poor. It operates 3 vocational training schools.
Days For Girls is working with girls in monasteries and orphanages providing access to women’s hygiene education.
Food Not Bombs Myanmar (FnB) is dedicated to nonviolent direct action, providing food and supplies to the victims of natural disasters and poverty.
Girl Determined runs leadership and personal empowerment programs for adolescent girls in 70+ communities throughout Myanmar providing access to education, health knowledge and personal development.
Japan Heart Operates a hospital providing low-cost health care that is free for children and works with visually impaired people.
Mary Chapman School for the Deaf operates a day and residential school in Yangon for students who are deaf.
Muslim Free Hospital provides free medical services to anyone who is considered unable to pay for health care.
Plan Bee trains 2,000 men and women as beekeepers in South Shan State providing equipment, ongoing training and business support.
The Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) was established by the actor U Kyaw Thu and the film director U Thu Kha. It pays for the funerals of the homeless regardless of religion or ethnicity. Services include free ambulances and medical clinics in Yangon and disaster relief to communities affected by floods and cyclones.
The Tekkatho Foundation’s creates eLearning materials that are available at universities and community libraries.
Days For Girls