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Working together
Seven years on, our Day’s for Girls group still continue with our work for Timor Leste and the supply of period and incontinence kits for women and girls. We maintain our group of 20–25 ladies who come to our working bees at Fatima Hall each month. It is a time to sew and make crafts for the assorted charities we support but also a time for great friendships.

We have just sent our eighth shipment to Dili after an 18-month delay because of Covid. To date, we have sent 2,000 feminine hygiene kits to Dili. These sustainable kits have changed the lives of so many women and girls in Timor Leste. The women and girls had little or no protection for their periods. Girls couldn’t go to school for that week, or, if they were employed, they didn’t go to work for that week. Some older women suffer from incontinence, so they too are able to use the kits. The kits have given them all a better quality of life and dignity. Our shipments to Dili have also included over 1,000 beanies, countless baby clothes, children’s clothes, wraps and blankets, booties, underwear, 100’s small toiletries, stationery, books, sewing supplies, material and
numerous miscellaneous items.

Without the help of TOLL and Ceva Logistics our project would not happen. They take our shipments to Darwin and then onto Dili but we do have to pay about $1000 in wharf charges for the release of the goods
and a charge per pallet. Without the generous donations from family, friends and donations from parishioners and church groups it would not be possible to continue our work. St Pat’s Coin Bucket and The Sisters of St Joseph have been very generous donors over the years and the profit from a few small raffles and craft market stalls help us along the way. We are always grateful for any donation of cash, undies, washers and any cotton/flannelette

Libby Bleakley the Director of Sentru Formasaun Ba Juventude Centre of Learning for Youth Timor-Leste will be in Dili in January, and once again oversee the distribution of our latest shipment. Some of the kits from previous shipments have gone to an orphanage and to a women’s prison for the use of inmates and warders. It is reassuring to know that all our efforts reach their intended destination and are always gratefully received.

Update on past donations:
100 Baby Bundles to PNG
100 Hygiene Kits to Rwanda
124 Pamper Packs to Coonamble

St Saviour’s Catholic College Toowoomba
The boarders who live on the Islands off Queensland find it very cold when they get to school so we have made about 50 personal blankets and heat packs to help keep them warm.

Ronald McDonald House Orange and Westmead, surgeries and other medical facilities
During Covid, our workings bees were suspended, so our work for Timor Leste was on hold. In the meantime, and to keep our group together we started knitting/making Trauma Bears and assorted toys for Ronald McDonald House, doctors’ surgeries, dental practices, XRay Departments and so on. Over the past 18 months, we have made and delivered 300 dolls/teddies, 160 blankets, 50 burb bibs, 20 bibs, 10 washers, 150 kids drawstring bags, 25 slippers/booties/shoes, 18 cuddle blankets, 10 Minky toys, and numerous items for them to raffle. These donations have been gratefully received and have been given to children in their care.

In 2022  we were able to recommence our working bees but with a much smaller group. Some of our ladies felt it was much safer to stay at home. Sewing with masks and social distancing made life a little difficult. However we ‘soldiered on’ and continued to work for Timor Leste. Last year Timor was devastated by floods and landslides, so Libby’s Centre used all of its donations to help those in need. Our latest shipment will certainly boost her supplies.

November 2022 shipment to Dili

415 Hygiene Kits, 130 spare liners, many metres of fabric and material, 120 Baby Blankets/Wraps/Hand Towels/Washers, 734 bras, 33 Undies Donated by Underwear for Humanity, Assorted BagsUndies/T/Shirts/Shorts, Children’s Clothes/Knitted Toys/Beanies/Cotton hats, Sewing Supplies Cotton/Buttons/Trim/Sequins/Beads/Pins, Big Soaps/6 Toothpaste/Tooth Brushes/ Combs, Bobby Pins/Hand Creams/ soaps/ shampoo etc, Rubber Bands/ Notepads/Sticky Tape/ Glue Sticks, Pencils/textas/ Whiteboard Markers/Rulers, Scissors/Smiley Stamps/pencil cases/Postit NotesErasers/ Chalk/Coloured Pencils, 5 Reams A4 Paper (thanks Fr Garry!)
Our shipment also included items from Libby and Beverley and Peter de Meur.

Here is a breakdown of the 2,000 kits we have sent to Dili
2000 Drawstring Bags, Soaps and Washers
4000 Shields, Pairs of Undies., Ziplock Bags
16,000 Liners which is 32,000 pieces of Flannelette !!

On behalf of Maureen and Pat, I would like to thank everyone for your time and generous donations, but most of all, your love and support for those less fortunate than ourselves. I would also like to thank TOLL, Ceva Logistics, Vic, Libby, Underwear for Humanity, Judith Orrick, Sr Anne and Fr Garry, Sandra and Judy at the Presbytery Office. Without your help, support and donations our work and shipments would not happen.

Joan Applin