Susanna Matters was recently announced as the Australian Women’s Weekly Woman of the Future at the Women’s Weekly 80th birthday celebration.
Susanna’s work with Goods for Girls impressed the magazine and won her the Judges’ Choice award. The award comes with a $20,000 scholarship which will assist Goods for Girls in expanding its work on women’s health in Kenya.
“I’m thrilled that I have had the opportunity to share the work of Goods for Girls with so many women around Australia,” said Susanna Matters, founder of Goods for Girls.
“It is an achievement for the young women of Muhaka Village, and above all, a triumph for everyone who works hard with so little to see the end of extreme global poverty.”
“This is an honour so much bigger than one person.”
After Susanna first visited Africa, she noticed that many teenage girls were missing school due to the lack of affordable feminine hygiene products available and began buying disposable pads for the girls.
After deciding that this was not a sustainable or environmentally friendly endeavour, Susanna got thinking and the idea of Goods for Girls was born on a flight home from Kenya.
The program now assists young women by providing them with reusable sanitary pad packs as well as training women in Muhaka to sew the pads from scratch.
“Goods for Girls isn’t just about handing out disposable pads – we wanted a program that would empower girls and be environmentally friendly as well,” said Ms Matters.
“We train the girls to make their own washable products, so that not only do they meet their own needs, but they learn to sew on a machine. It’s a vocational skill because often the most affluent person in a village is the tailor.”
Goods for Girls also provides women’s health training to young women in partnership with locally based organisation Camps International and local schools.