Here & There Makers – making a difference

DfG FTG leader Susan Shaw and volunteer Karen
Cleveland doing a contactless exchange of face masks.

It’s been a tricky year to run a business, but Here & There Makers in Boronia has adapted to the changes.

Run from the corner of Boronia Rd and Erica Ave in the old Aussie Disposals shop, Here & There Makers sell a range of environmentally conscious products, including refills of all consumable cleaning and personal care products and ingredients, fair trade and local handcrafted items. The range includes everything from homewares, soaps, and personal hygiene products and now reusable cloth face masks!

Their shopfront has been closed to the public throughout restrictions, with click and collect orders still available for those living with a 5km radius of the store as well as shipping for those outside the area.

Here & There Makers was set up as a social enterprise by Michelle Gates in 2018 to help support Days for Girls Ferntree Gully, a not for profit organisation which works to make sustainable menstrual supplies and provide reproductive health education for women and girls in poorer communities all over the world.

In many disadvantaged communities women resort to using things like rags, mattress stuffing and banana leaves to manage their periods. This has negative impacts on their health, education and work opportunities. Days for Girls provides handmade sanitary hygiene kits which include washable leak-proof pad holders, pads, underwear, washcloth, soap, and a waterproof transport bag – all in brightly coloured fabrics. The kits are designed to last from 3-5years.

Since the start of July, Here & There Makers has produced and delivered over 3,000 face masks, each individually hand-sewn by a team of dedicated volunteers. Sale of the face masks is being used as a fundraising activity with $2 from each mask sold going directly to Days for Girls Ferntree Gully Chapter. The pivot to making face masks with our DfG volunteers has also had the added benefit of keeping many of our volunteers engaged in purposeful work and given positive social contact when picking up and dropping off sewing.

Michelle has led the Days for Girls Ferntree Gully Chapter the previous 6 years. The Chapter is now led by Susan Shaw. Days for Girls FTG Chapter (prior to restrictions) run regular sewing workshops from their dedicated workshop space at Here & There storefront in Boronia.

The incredible work of Days for Girls FTG volunteers has seen thousands of hygiene kits sent around the world to countries such as Cambodia, East Timor, Africa, Thailand, Fiji and Vanuatu. From little things, big things grow.

To lend your support or learn more, you can get in touch with Michelle through the Here & There Makers website at hereandtheremakers.com or email ferntreegully@daysforgirls.org

Meg Hellyer

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