Retford Ladies Probus Club commenced their February meeting with the AGM at which Carol Portas, the retiring president, thanked the committee for their tremendous support throughout her year in office. She then welcomed Dawn Cragg as the incoming president and duly handed over the chain of office, wishing her all the very best in her future role.
Dawn then introduced Marian Tasker, whose theme was the ‘Zambia Women’s Project’. Marian is involved with the National Police Aid Convoy which provides valuable practical assistance to underdeveloped countries such as Zambia, Rwanda and Malawi. She soon became aware of the plight of girls who miss school every month due to menstruation. The Zambia Women’s Project was set up to teach women to make their own washable sanitary protection. In, Lusaka, capital of Zambia, there is a scheme creating discrete gift bags which contain all a girl needs. If a woman makes 1,000 items, she is rewarded with a sewing machine which some of the club’s ladies were happy to donate, whilst other ladies offered to supply underwear. Sadly, menstruation is still regarded as the work of the devil in these ignorant African backwaters. The girls are obliged to use their discrete bags to conceal their pads when hanging them on the line, so the men don’t have to view them!
Marian spoke of children who were desperate for education, who had no spacial awareness due to a lack of equipment and of teachers who received no pay. The children in one area were very proud of their school with a tree painted on the wall. They had clambered up to make leaves with their handprints. No health and safety issues here! Outside another school the club saw water barrels. These are provided by the Rotary Club in a scheme called Roll Out The Barrel, helping women who go long distances to find water. It is good to know that these projects are working to give women more independence in countries where they are still very much at the thin end of the wedge.
The club’s next meeting takes place on 10th April and will feature ‘WWII Rationing and Baking’ with Meryl White. The venue is Westhill Community Centre, Ordsall, at 10.00am for 10.30am. All are welcome.