A Much Needed Drive for West African Girls

Last year Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) collaborated with the Northern Virginia Business and Professional Women’s Club (NOVABPW Club) in collecting sanitary napkins to support F.A. Cole’s napkin drive.  She collected napkins and took them to her native Sierra Leone for girls who do not have access to sanitary items.  The girls in Sierra Leone and girls in many other African countries cannot afford to purchase sanitary napkins.  Many of those girls have most likely experienced female genital mutilation (FGM).  Cole told Global Woman Newsletter, “I remember when I was a young girl in Sierra Leone we could not afford sanitary napkins.”  She continued, “I had to improvise by using cloth and making homemade napkins.”  According to F.A. Cole, many girls in Sierra Leone are forced to stay out of school during their menstrual periods because they cannot afford sanitary napkins during that time of the month.  Some girls remain at home up to five days each month or as long as their menstrual periods last.  Sierra Leone is listed as one of the poorest countries in the world; therefore their schools cannot afford to hand out sanitary napkins to female students.

F.A. Cole is returning to Sierra Leone this December, and she plans to take another supply of sanitary napkins to the girls in Sierra Leone.  The support this year is even greater from the community than it was last year.  GWPF is once again joined by the Northern Virginia Business and Professional Women’s Club in a drive for sanitary napkins.  In addition, an organization called Hashtag HappyPeriod (#HappyPeriod) is collaborating with GWPF and the NOVABPW Club to collect as many napkins as they can before Cole’s December trip.

NOVA BPW Club was established a year ago by its President, Sherelle Carper and Vice President, Darnell Wise Lightbourn, both of Northern Virginia.  The Club is a chapter of the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women.  The NOVABPW Club is enthusiastic about collaborating in this much needed drive.

#HappyPeriod is a social movement of girlfriends providing menstrual hygiene kits. Their initiative supports anyone that is homeless, low-income, and/or living in poverty without access to such items.  Founded by Chelsea VonChaz and her Mother, Cherryl Warner in February of 2015, the idea of #HappyPeriod came to VonChaz after she saw a homeless woman crossing the street, wearing blood stained undergarments.  In its first year, #HappyPeriod became a movement, forming chapters across the United States, including New York City, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.  They accept donations of pads, tampons, panty-liners, soap, wipes, and unused underwear, including packages that have already been opened, but unused.

Global Woman Newsletter spoke with Coretta Johnson, one of the leaders of #HappyPeriod, and asked how she became involved.  “After starting my natural body products line, ‘803 Natural’, I became involved with #HappyPeriod.  I was looking for a charity or social movement for my company to be a sponsor of, and I discovered #HappyPeriod via Instagram.”  When asked about her passion for #HappyPeriod, Coretta said, “My passion comes from my desire to serve the community and from the conviction of being a woman; prior to my involvement in #HappyPeriod, I’d have never thought about what homeless women do when they have their periods.”

Although #HappyPeriod currently has no chapters internationally, VonChaz still travels abroad, spreading the message of her organization through education and providing menstrual hygiene kits.  According to Coretta Johnson, #HappyPeriod’s rapid growth is attributed to social media, which has played a huge part in their success. She said, “Chelsea has done a great job in spreading the initiative of #HappyPeriod and by doing so, she’s received press coverage in magazines and last year she appeared on the television show, The Doctor’s.”  Johnson said social media has been a driving force behind #HappyPeriod.  “We’ve also partnered with ‘Golden’, a volunteer app that helps individuals find volunteer opportunities in their communities.”

Johnson told Global Woman Newsletter that the bulk of their donations come from their amazing volunteers and partner organizations.  Last year several of their chapters received pallets of pads and tampons from both Kotex and CVS Pharmacy.  She believes that in the next five years #HappyPeriod will have tripled the number of chapters they currently have.  They will have taken on a bigger role in the education of menstrual hygiene and health, having a stronger voice in ending the taboo surrounding menstrual periods.

F.A. Cole says the sanitary napkin drive is closely related to the practice of FGM; majority of the same adolescent girls who are forced to remain out of school during their monthly periods were once subjected to FGM.  Cole herself survived FGM at the age of eleven in Sierra Leone, and later, survived rape as well when she was still a teenager.  She understands and can identify with the daily challenges the young girls and women face in Sierra Leone and other parts of the world.

Cole plans to hold another workshop in Sierra Leone this December, where she will distribute the napkins and other items such as pencils, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other toilet articles.  The common things to which teenagers and young adults have easy access in the U.S, their counterparts in Africa might not see in their entire lifetime.  According to Cole, “The first fifty women to arrive at the workshop will receive a gift bag loaded with toilet articles and other necessities.

Along with Cole, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, #HappyPeriod, and NOVABPW Club hope to expand this drive in the future to Sierra Leone’s neighboring countries, Liberia and Guinea.  The girls in those other two West African countries are also in dire need of sanitary products.  Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are three of the 27 FGM practicing countries in Africa.

If you are reading this article, and you would like to donate to this drive, please contact Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, NOVABPW Club or #HappyPeriod.

    Comments and questions to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org or call (703) 818-3787

Make Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Your Favorite Charity in 2018

When you shop during this year at Amazon, please remember to select Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation as your charity of choice.  Please consider us when shopping. Your shopping makes a difference. Do your regular Amazon shopping and Amazon donates to Global Woman Peace Foundation.

In your charitable contributions and donations in 2018, please consider Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation by either through the DONATE BUTTON or by sending a check to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, 8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Suite 600, Fairfax, Virginia 22031.  Your generous donations are tax deductible.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2018 Calendar


  • Reminder to register for the Walk To End FGM – Thursday, September 27th
  • Collaborative Planning Meeting at George Washington University – Monday, Oct. 1st
  • Milken Institute SPH @ GWU Fall Practice Assembly – Wednesday, October 10th
  • Monthly Workshop – Saturday, October 20th with Kerry Sparks
  • Global Woman Awards – Friday, October 26th at 6:30pm
  • Walk To End FGM – Saturday, October 27th at 12:00noon
  • Monthly Workshop – Saturday, November 17th with GWPF Thanksgiving Feast
  • Year-End Board Meeting – Saturday, December 1st
  • Monthly Workshop – Saturday, December 15th with GWPF Holiday Lunch
  • Release of the 2019 Monthly Support Group Workshop Schedule – December 18th
  • The education toolkit – Now Available and downloadable at https://www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org/prevention-school-resource-fgm-toolkit/

We will update this 2018 calendar as schedules come in

This section is for special announcements.  If you have an announcement you would like to run in this section, please follow these guidelines.

NEW report by the AHA Foundation details why we must have zero tolerance for female genital mutilation.  Read about why we hesitate to protect girls here:  https://www.theahafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Why-we-hesitate-to-protect-girls-from-FGM-in-the-United-States.pdf

From unCUT Voices:  https://uncutvoices.wordpress.com/

The guidelines to submit an announcement to appear in this newsletter:

  • The length of announcement must be no more than a paragraph of 6 lines.
  • Your announcement is free of any charges.
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Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







Last Week’s Scrambled Words                                  Last Week’s Unscrambled Words

YROTS                                                                                     STORY

AMUART                                                                                TRAUMA

SERAMTHGIN                                                                      NIGHTMARES

YCERCES                                                                                SECRECY

NOITATNEMUCOD                                                             DOCUMENTATION

We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.

How You Can Help & Support Us

Here are some of the ways you can help and support our programs in 2018:

  • Donations (including in-kind donations) globalwomanpeacefoundation.org
  • Partnering (collaborating in one of our programs and/or events)
  • Joining our Internship or Student-Ambassadorship Program
  • Volunteering
  • Donate through employer payroll deduction (through Your Cause, United Way or the government employee giving program)

Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                           410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police            202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program         703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program             703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness               703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.