Gertrude Noden, her husband Drew, and a group of teachers in Uganda after attending a workshop on teaching life skills.A grant from the Ithaca Rotary Club has funded a project in Uganda to produce reusable feminine hygiene kits, allowing dozens of girls to attend school during their menstrual periods. The first set of kits created by a cohort of girls in Gulu, Uganda, was delivered to local schools this summer. The girls began six months of training as seamstresses in May at a women’s cooperative in Gulu.

The project was funded by the Ithaca Rotary Club’s Dozen Dinner Draw raffle, which this year raised $15,000 for two nonprofits that support the menstrual hygiene of girls in Uganda, South Sudan and Guatemala. An additional $10,000 challenge grant, offered by Backyard Brands, Inc., was provided to the project in Uganda.

The project in Uganda has been championed by Rotarian Gertrude Noden, an Ithaca education consultant who founded Words into Deeds, a nonprofit that promotes youth awareness and engagement in local and global human rights issues.
(PicturedGertrude Noden, her husband Drew, and a group of teachers in Uganda after attending a workshop on teaching life skills.)
“We are particularly grateful to the community members who supported the Ithaca Rotary Club’s annual Dozen Dinner Draw fundraiser,” Noden said. ‘Your ongoing efforts and contributions have had a direct impact on the successful implementation of our organization’s youth empowerment projects.”
Noden noted that the project to create a sustainable model to produce basic hygienic supplies is student-led and includes youth from the UNIFAT Primary School in Uganda and the Abukloi Secondary School in South Sudan, who are helping with both the liquid soap and kit projects. The hygiene kits contain pads, underwear, soap and washcloths and are distributed to school-age girls.

In another project in Uganda, the Rotary Club’s Dozen Dinner Draw in 2021 raised money to help install solar power on the campus of a primary school in Uganda that had experienced an almost daily loss of electric power. The Rotary Club has also funded the acquisition of 10 laptop computers at the UNIFAT Primary School in Gulu.
Noden visited Uganda last April to lead several sessions of a two-day workshop, “Youth Empowerment for the 21st Century, which was offered to primary school students and teachers, vocational students and teacher candidates at Gulu University.