Since 2019, members of the Ujima Friends Peace Center have partnered with Sankofa Artisan Guild to make reusable, environmentally friendly menstrual pads, pouches, and under garments for African girls’ whose educations are compromised due to “period poverty.” The group, now known as the PanAfrican Sisterhood Health Initiative (PASHI), is led by a group of Black Women elders most of who are community workers, keepers of the culture, educators, activists, counselors and lovers of the arts. The Friends Foundation on Aging supports funding for the project.
The Ujima Friends Peace Center provides the space, sewing machines, and willing hearts and hands to this project. The project was renamed by Maulana Ron Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, who thought the project was fabulous and worthy of the name Pan African Sisterhood Health Initiative (PASHI).
Each shipment has included 300 reusable kits with purses to carry them in and masks. The countries served so far: Cuba, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Southern Sudan, and Tanzania.
Dr. Ayesha Imani, Head of School/Founder of the Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School and member of Ujima Friends Meeting, shares about PASHI:
The fact that we get elders and young people together to sew, eat, and share stories while making menstrual pads for girls in Africa is really wonderful. We have also been making and sending masks. The latest addition to the project is the birthing pads and bags that we are sending to help fight against infant mortality and maternal morbidity, increasing sanitation in the birthing process.
Others are welcome to join in sewing together for Africa and the diaspora. The project is held at the Peace Center every Wednesday from 10am – 2pm. There is limited space, but if interested in visiting please contact Dr. Imani. If you have a sewing machine, you are welcome to bring it! There are plans to expand the project into Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School and Imhotep Institute Charter High School.
Friends can visit the Ujima Friends Peace Center website to learn more: www.ujimafriends.org
Donations can be sent to:Ujima Friends Peace Center, PO Box 50647, Philadelphia, PA
Photos courtesy of Dr. Ayesha Imani