Did you know that today more than 98 million girls around the world are unable to attend school? This could be due to early pregnancy, abusive families, child marriage, FMG, period poverty, lack of income, or lack of empathy for the "girl child" in many communities. Near and far, when we empower young women, magic happens. Our new partners, Smart Child Kenya, said it best:
"When girls get the opportunity that they need to succeed, grow, and develop, amazing things start to happen; families or individuals in poverty plummet, economies prosper, families become more closer together, and babies are born healthier." Our two newest partners prove that magic can happen through empowerment, confidence and strengthened opportunities, even via the donation of a simple pair of underwear.
For every item you buy at our Kansas City Westside shop and our Kansas City International Airport shop this quarter, we'll donate a pair of underwear to two very deserving organizations with urgent requests. Read more about Mother's Refuge and Smart Child Kenya below.
For every MADI Apparel item you buy in our Westside Kansas City flagship store and madiapparel.com this spring, we'll donate a pair of new underwear to Mother's Refuge in Kansas City.
Mother's Refuge was founded in 1987 and exists to bring hope and empowerment to young mothers. Their maternity shelter houses parenting and pregnant mothers between the ages of 12-21.
Their transitional living program serves mothers and their children as well as an aftercare program once residents graduate the program. Additionally, Mother's Refuge has the ability to serve many young moms who were previously homeless. Upon arrival, many mothers often bring only the contents inside of the bag she walked in with.
"Underwear donations would be a huge blessing to these moms. We could give them basic necessities including underwear when they come to live at our shelter."
For every MADI Apparel item you buy at our new KCI airport shop this quarter, we'll donate a pair of underwear to Smart Child Kenya.
Did you know we now have a mini store within a store at the new KCI airport? That's right, on your next layover or before your next flight out of Kansas City, you can go shopping at KCI and find our locally and ethically made apparel and goods!
**We'll gift you a free pair of underwear when you shop our KCI airport store!
1. Buy any MADI Apparel item at the KCI airport, located inside the Made in Kansas City Marketplace just after the security line
2. Post a picture of what you purchased (while traveling or wearing ideally), and tag us!
3. Make sure you message or email us with your email address, and we will send you a 100% off discount code to shop your favorite style/size of underwear. We'll ship it to you for free!
4. For every item you buy at KCI, we'll donate a pair a pair of underwear to Smart Child Kenya, and send you a pair as a thank you for supporting
We're proud to support a global partner - Smart Child Kenya - with a very big ongoing need for underwear donations through all MADI Apparel sales at the airport.
Smart Child Kenya was founded in 2008 and was registered on June 30, 2014, as a community-based organization in accordance with Kenyan law. The organization empowers and advocates for Africa women and children, provides support and services, and develops programs for these causes. Their mission is to rescue young girls and educate them to reach and achieve their full potential and dreams. They assist hard-to-reach disadvantaged women and girls to inspire, motivate and encourage them to overcome barriers to improve the quality of their lives. Smart Child Kenya mainly works in Narok Maasai land and in Limuru Kamandura. Every dollar donated directly impacts the girls and staff, as currently, they're a group of holistic dedicated group of volunteers who want to stop FGM forced marriages and any kind of mistreatment towards the girl child life.
The Kenyan-based non-profit was founded by Beth Wawira - a brave survivor of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) who was once forced into child marriage at 12 years old with a 67-year-old man, in exchange for cows and sheep.
Here's Beth's story, in her own words, captured from an email that she sent to our team in 2019 requesting underwear donations for her non-profit.
"Hello there .... I am humbled to write you this email. This is Beth from Kenya, founder of Smart Child Kenya. A Registered CBO from year 2014.
I personally come from a very poor background that I can't remember wearing a panties, and neither did I when I started menstruating. I used to make mine with banana ropes and the same banana fibre I used as my sanitary pads...We did this almost to the whole villege just as little as I was 9 years when I started menstruating.
I went through FGM (Female Genial Mutilation). At the age of 12, my parents thought I was good enough to be a wife and I was forced to marry an old man age 67 for exchange of cows and sheep . It was hard and very painful. Our parents didn't know the importance of educating a girl child. It was bad and still some of girls go through the same.
I managed to escape from the marriage where I was employed as a house girl in one of our town and worked in a family of 8. It was terrible.
I worked for 5 years then I got married (on my own terms) and am at my home with four children and a husband.
That why I decided to help girls where I rescue them from FGM, early childhood marriages, educate different communities on the importance of educating "the girl child", domestic violence prevention, etc. I fight for their education and raise funds for sponsorships for their primary school and secondary schools. More importantly girls always miss and drop out of school for lack of good menstrual management kits. I make reusable sanitary towels and hand sew panties to keep these girls in school - a project that has helped 4500 girls since I started.
I don't have much, I earn less than $3 a day, but I wouldn't want any girl to go through what I went through, and I share what I have with them.
Thank you for wanting to donate panties.Thank you for the wonderful team over there. You are making a difference to many lives."
In 2020, MADI Apparel fulfilled Beth's urgent request and donated a few dozen pairs of underwear to Smart Child Kenya. We have a few friends who live in Kansas City but are from Nairobi and still have family in Kenya. We were able to send the underwear with our friends to safely hand-deliver them to Beth.
Fast forward to 2023 when we reached back out to Beth to see how her organization has been progressing and get an update on her recent impact in her community. Beth told us that thanks in part to the underwear we provided her a few years ago, and the reusable sanitary pads that she makes and trains the girls to make, teachers have reported much higher school attendance rates for the girls she's supported in her community. They've been empowering girls under their wing by teaching a skill (sewing) and teaching the girls how to run their own enterprise (making and selling reusable pads, and then teaching this skill to others in their community to pass it on.)
Beth said, they still struggle with raising the funds or receiving underwear donations, and this adds to the stigma and continuation of period poverty in her community. Even with re-usable pads, if the girls don't have underwear to put the pads in, we're not getting very far.
Smart Child Kenya aims to help vulnerable children develop and grow, especially girls. They work in 4 thematic areas:
- Child protection / feeding program
- Reproductive health
The non-profit provides girls with washable menstrual pads - made directly by the organization - and underwear (from MADI Apparel) that will last for years. By providing reusable cloth menstrual pads, we eliminate all environmental harm that thousands upon millions of disposable pads have on the planet.
Each girl in the program will receive a sanitary kit, which consists of 4 pairs of underwear, 12 reusable menstruation pads, 3 face towels and 15 writing pens. One kit will take a girl through a full 12-month year.
Most African parents do not mind when their daughter is having her menstruation. However, the norm for girls around Kenya is that they use dirty rags, animal skins, old mattresses and leaves to menstruate. In some households, a parent will dig a hole in the corner of the kitchen that their daughter sits on for up to 3 - 4 days on end. As a result, it is tradition that the male parent is unable to enter the kitchen.
Beth's goals include de-stigmatizing menstruation, teaching empathy in households regarding ending FGM and child marriage and keeping girls in school, and supplying sanitary basic needs for menstruating girls and mothers. Beth's ultimate goal is to empower young women and to keep them in school.
We're on a mission to help supply the most needed and most under-donated item of clothing - underwear - to powerful organizations like Smart Child Kenya and Mother's Refuge.