Throughout South Africa, poverty is preventing rural and urban communities fromgrowing,developing and making healthy progress. My Arms Wide Open works to reverse this trend by providing young adults and women with training in entrepreneurial skills that will benefit their communities. We use existing resources, supplemented by unavailable resources and supported by training, education, funding and community-based mentors and coaches.

My Business, My Community responds to the specific needs of each community using the fundamental principles of small business loans and professional support services to create ma solid platform for future development and growth. The needs of each community shape the types of enterprises that are established, ensuring sustainable demand.

Ariella Tilsen, Vital Edge Consulting

As our plane descended into Cape Town, I turned to look at Warren. His eyes were closed but I could tell he was tearing up. His hand was clutching his clothes over his heart, pressing hard against his chest. Then, when we went through passport control, the officer said to Warren, “Welcome home.” Tears flooded over Warren’s face. Through this welter of emotion, Warren said,
“I AM home. And it feel damn good to be home!”


My Business My Community provides opportunities for participants to learn:


There is so much activity taking place that is supporting the GirlStuff business and the Bergnek Community’s
goals to create additional employment through the project.

To support the business we also invested in getting the products tested by the South African Bureau
of Standards (SABS) and submitted our samples for testing in June of this year. Just recently we received the report back and passed, or as the SABS put it ‘complied’,
with flying colours, after making a couple of minor adjustments to increase absorbency.


On Nelson Mandela day (July 18th) this year we funded a community day in Bergnek and eTV South Africa was out visiting our
ladies working away at GirlStuff as well as the community in general. Our very own, Keabetswe was featured in the segment,
which aired on DSTV in South Africa, channel 403 on Friday August 2nd, 2013 and also aired on SKY in the UK a few weeks later. The piece was very well
received and generated a number of new leads for us and supported some that we have been working on.

Following the broadcast we have been very busy in the past few months. We’ve acquired new customers and are working on
a few more both in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The great news is that as we complete negotiations and secure the new contracts for longer term supply
of the menstrual kits we will be able to employ more women in the Bergnek Community.

Together, we can do this and support a highly disadvantaged community to sustain itself in the long term. Thank you for your ongoing support


Here’s where we need your help: Next steps are for us to increase capacity with the purchase
of additional equipment,
supplies and cash resources to support anticipated new contracts and orders.

Can you make a donation today and perhaps make it a recurring donation? The women
and children of Bergnek are grateful for all of the support you have give them.

Thank you for your continued support of the women and children of the Bergnek Community and the My Arms Wide Open programs.

Take the step and sponsor the ‘My Arms Wide Open & Pads4Girls’ program in Bergnek

For more info and to donate now, TAKE ACTION and visit our Canadian Donation Page to start your donation now and get involved in your communities to support families, women and children to change their futures.

If you are in the United States and need to make a donation and get a tax receipt please visit our GlobalGiving ‘My Arms Wide Open & Pads4Girls’ donation page, to make your donation to support the communities we are working in.


We arrived in Bergnek on a Saturday of what was going to be a marathon 9 days
setting up three businesses, including building the first My World In a Garden® vertical garden,
training the community to manufacture SafeSIPP™ water barrels, and how to manufacture and market
the Menstrual Kits, launching the GirlStuff.Period business.

The initial phase of the project has been to supply pre-made kits to the girls in the community of Bergnek and a small inventory, while teaching the women of Bergnek how to make the menstrual kits and run their business. This first order and the starting inventory were supplied through the generous donations of our
supporters and the wonderful people at Pads4Girls affiliate, AFRIPads, in Uganda.

As with each of the community businesses My Arms Wide Open® supports, we are committed to working right along side GirlStuff.Period for a minimum of 5 years to ensure they have the support and skills they need to create and sustain a successful business, a community-based business that makes and supplies washable, reusable menstrual products so that young girls can stay in school.


We’ve been spreading the word with the people we meet and talk to and have already received commitments of
support from the Polokwane regional councilor, July Mokwenjama and the teachers in the local schools. In addition to that we have already started receiving orders from a number of
people and organizations for GirlStuff.Period Menstrual Kits. The demand is here and very evident.


There are still needs. My Arms Wide Open has been able to provide GirlStuff.Period with the raw materials and supplies to manufacture approximately 1,000 menstrual kits working with the machinery they currently have.

In order for GirlStuff.Period to be able to build a sustainable business that can meet
the demand in the local market they need the funds to do the following:
Purchase 2 more industrial sewing machines
Purchase 2 industrial surgers (over-locking) machines
Purchase raw materials • Marketing support

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