Needlepointer Sarah Hadden lives an extraordinary life

IMG_0572.jpg

 

I first heard about Sarah long before I met her. Everyone assumed we were friends. We are both needlepointers, we had kids around the same ages, we lived close to each other, she was doing KURA volunteer work in the school where I taught, etc, etc.. My children knew her and spoke about her often! But somehow our paths in our small community had never crossed. I can't remember where or how we ever met. The needlepoint shop, I'll bet. And from then on, it was like we have known each other forever.

Sarah is creative, funny, loving, and a woman on a mission. 

IMG_0574.jpg

While traveling in Kenya, Sarah found a need that was preventing some school girls from finishing their education. The lack of sanitary products meant that there was no privacy. Upon the onset of menstruation, many girls would start missing school, falling behind, dropping out, thus putting them at risk for early marriage. Rolling up her sleeves, and digging in, Vermonter Sarah Hadden decided to get those girls some maxi pads!! We are not talking about a neighborhood, or a school. This woman is providing as many sanitary products to as many girls as possible! (Insert mic drop) 

IMG_0564.jpg

Thus was the birth of the KURA Project. Kids Uniting For Rural Africa. www.kuraproject.org

img_5297.jpg
 And away she goes...

And away she goes...

 Delivery of the Opportunity kits is sometimes challenging!!

Delivery of the Opportunity kits is sometimes challenging!!

 ...with happy faces on the other end of the journey!

...with happy faces on the other end of the journey!

As you can imagine. This is not an easy task. You don't just start sending cases of disposable maxi pads to Northern Kenya. There was a LOT of navigation in figuring this out. Sarah found washable reusable sanitary products that were made in Africa. She then realized that underpants and soap should be part of the kits. And thus the "Opportunity Kit" was created. A kit which would last for one year. A kit which would allow a girl to stay in school. A kit which provided an opportunity for education!!! Each kit costs $25.

 An Opportunity Kit includes washable pads, soap, a pair of underwear and an instruction manual.   

An Opportunity Kit includes washable pads, soap, a pair of underwear and an instruction manual.

 

IMG_0567.jpg

 

Sarah doesn't just send off money to strangers and hope this miracle happens. OH NO! Sarah oversees the delivery of each kit. Two weeks a year Sarah also personally delivers kits. The KURA Project makes sure each kit arrives in the hands of every single girl they are purchased for. 1200 kits are delivered per year. To date 5400 Opportunity kits have been delivered to 32 schools.

IMG_0568.jpg
IMG_0570.jpg

 

And in her spare time (giggle)... Sarah, makes and sells these special silver heart necklaces modeled after a rock an adorable young friend found on a river bank in Northern Kenya. That money goes to a scholarship fund to pay school fees. Other folks in our little community in Vermont have each taken a student and are providing private scholarships. Sarah helps select the students who get these scholarships, meets with the parents, and when possible delivers hand written notes and photos between the donor and recipient families. An education for a student costs $900 per year for 4 years.

IMG_0569.jpg
 Sarah enrolling a scholarship student on her first day of school. By boarding, this young lady is much safer than making the long walk daily back and forth to school.

Sarah enrolling a scholarship student on her first day of school. By boarding, this young lady is much safer than making the long walk daily back and forth to school.

 

Sarah will be the first to tell you that this is a group effort. She has folks who have thrown small local fundraising events in Southern Vermont and she also has a fabulous board of directors for the KURA Project.  

 Board member Barbara Lowes gave each attendee a wish bracelet as a reminder of the wonderful girls who would receive Opportunity kits after this fundraiser.

Board member Barbara Lowes gave each attendee a wish bracelet as a reminder of the wonderful girls who would receive Opportunity kits after this fundraiser.

 Women at the Dorset Field Club tennis fundraiser

Women at the Dorset Field Club tennis fundraiser

 

 

To learn more about the KURA Project or get involved please go read their website at

www.kuraproject.org