Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Big Red Ball: A night out for a great cause (from Bonnie's Desk)

My introduction to 50cents.period was about 2 years ago at a “red party” hosted in Avondale Estates, right around the corner from my house. I had heard a little bit already about the mission of the organization and wanted more information. We were to wear red and bring a checkbook, in case the presentation led us to contribute to this cause. Lorrie King, the founder of 50cents.period, spoke to the group of 50+ women in red, about her work, mostly in India, to improve the lives of women by starting with the girls.
Girls in developing countries often live in poverty and I was aware of that fact. However, what I did not know until this meeting is those girls are not allowed to attend school the week of their menstruation cycle unless they have the necessary sanitary supplies AND basic restroom facilities at the school. Lorrie and her team found in their travels in India that both are rare and have been on a mission to raise money for and awareness about this problem via this not-for-profit that was birthed in DeKalb county. Many women in our community have embraced this effort with their time, effort, and donations. In a short time, more girls can attend school because sanitary supplies are given to those who need them, at school, and very basic restroom facilities with safe water have been constructed at a few schools and more are in the works.
However, there are many girls in areas where 50cents.period has not reached. They miss a week of school a month and often deal with a stigma that their menstruation makes them unclean and is a curse. Once they fall behind in school, often they drop out and either get jobs to help the family or get married very young and start having babies, perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Basic women’s health education is another piece of Lorrie’s mission in developing countries. By educating mothers and girls about their bodies and health, stigmas will vanish, empowerment can take hold and the lives of a generation of women in India will change, forever.
Last Friday was International Women’s Day. It was also the day chosen for a fundraiser for 50cents.period, “The Big Red Ball”, hosted at the Decatur Courthouse.  It was a formal event and we all got to dress up and go out on a Friday night! Big Band Atlanta played dance music, the Stilleto Dancers performed, Sun in My Belly Restaurant laid out a lovely buffet and various businesses and individuals (including Finders Keepers) sponsored the event. Lorrie spoke. You can’t “not give” after Lorrie speaks about the work and mission of 50cents.period. She is changing the lives of women for the better, one school at a time, in one town at a time, one package of 8 sanitary napkins at a time.
You see, a package of 8 sanitary napkins costs 20 rupees, which is about 50 cents in U.S. currency. Most girls require 3 packages during their period.
For $1.50 you can guarantee a girl will remain in school for a month. By supplying this very basic need, a girl will be given a chance to live a life different from her mother’s. Education is the key that unlocks the door to possibility, to hope, to empowerment. Women empowered will change the lives of the next generation for the better. This is doable!
If this information has pulled at your heartstrings, as my first encounter with this cause did, please go to their website www.50centsperiod.org  to find out more, to consider giving, and to join the effort to change the lives of a generation of girls.

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