Our Story: Christine’s Journey

                                Women To Be

                                Our Team

                                Women To Be was founded on three important principles:

                                1.  All girls deserve dignity and an opportunity to succeed in life        
                                2.  Girls are the greatest untapped resource known to humankind and have the potential to elevate the quality of life for everyone on the planet        
                                3.  Menstrual health is not a women's problem.  It is a human rights issue.

                                    Christine Glidden founded Women To Be Inc. (WTB), to become a fundamental component of a comprehensive health effort to provide girls and women in the world the opportunity to stay in school, get an education, participate in day-to-day activities, make informed decisions about bearing children, and become economic drivers in their communities. So far, Christine has distributed 10,000 kits and health classes to Nepal (3x), Zambia, and Mexico. With the help of a small army of volunteers, she expects to distribute 5000+ kits through 2020.

                                    Her partnerships with international organizations and community leaders, Christine knows that the success of the project lies in relationship. Christine's long time wish to bring the project to her neighbors down the street, in New Mexico, is finally underway.

                                The Inspiration - In 2014, Christine was told by a friend who had survived 17 years in a Nepali refugee camp that she would resort to castaway rags and tree leaves to absorb her menstrual flow. Her friend would sit in the corner on a rag each month and wait until her period ended. Such methods of can also cause chronic, painful infection. In the camp, girls would place bags over their heads when entering public areas in order to hide their identities as they bled down their legs. Christine was immediately galvanized to take action. It was abhorrent to her to think of her friend living in this humiliation and pain. She discovered kits.  They contain 8 sanitary pads, 2 ‘wrappers’ with waterproof barriers, 2 pair of underwear, a washcloth, and 2 ziplock bags for daily storage of used pads which are rinsed and dried overnight.

                                In Nepal -  WTB has distributed kits and a sex education to 1600 girls and women in 2015 and 2016. Christine actually went to the refugee camp her friend lived in to distribute kits to the girls and women her friend had to leave behind.  A needs assessment shows that girls drop out of school at the start of puberty and the local population, particularly women, is suffering from unemployment. In 2017, 281 women and girls  who received kits were surveyed. 279 reported that the kits allowed them to perform their duties and stay in school, that they wanted a replacement kit in 2019 when their current kit is no longer effective, and that they would like more kits to give to friends and family who did not initially receive kits.

                                    In 2020, WTB recently received a Rotary International Grant to distribute kits and a health class to 5000 girls and women in remote regions of Nepal. This grant established a sewing center in Nepal to train and employ 22 refugee women to sew kits. A local hospital and women's organizations have committed to buying the kits after the grant project is completed, thereby insuring sustainability.

                                In Mexico  - WTB distributed 500 kits in remote areas of Chihuahua in May 2019 to bring the program to Tarahumara indigenous women. We returned in October 2019 to research resources and strengthen relationships with the State of Chihuahua Health and Human Services Office. Following our mission and with their partnership, we are intent to establish a sewing enterprise. Through grants and donations, we expect our enterprise to be profitable and sustainable. This has currently been delayed due to COVID 19.  Once safe, we have 500 kits ready to be delivered to Juarez.  

                                In Zambia - WTB has distributed kits to 1000 girls and women in 2018 and 2019. A team of researchers from the University of New Mexico visited Zambia during the 2019 trip to collect, and later analyze, data regarding the effectiveness of the kits and health classes - and to measure the degree to which women and girls want our products and services. The results confirm our mission and all our beliefs with great certainty - the kits work and are wanted!

                                In New Mexico -  US Senators Udall and Heinrich, Governor (originally Congresswoman) Lujan Grisham, and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller have written in support of WTB. We know that there are girls and women in NM who cannot afford or do not have access to disposable menstrual products every month. Some of these women are survivors of domestic violence or those recently released from detention.  
                                We spent May 2020- January, 2021 distributing 800 kits to NM Navajo women, many of whom live without running water and electricity.  We also organized a volunteer Albuquerque community-endorsed project to deliver 35 tons of food, water, and cleaners.   

                                Looking Forward - WTB plans to:

                                • Produce 5000+ Kits through 2021  

                                • Strengthen Operation

                                • Establish an import business capable of supporting our non-profit projects

                                We need YOUR help in raising funds

                                • Funds are needed to source sewing center startups that eventually become self-self-sustaining businesses 

                                • Funds source trips to these communities and centers to allow better management and guidance of local staff and leaders.

                                Support is needed to expand and organize a volunteer pipeline, conduct successful cowdfunding campaigns, write grants, and expand our network.

                                Donations of time, flannel, cotton, and sewing expertise welcome! 

                                Who We Are
                                We are an exceptionally diverse group of smart, committed, effective, and scrappy volunteers who view relationships and sustainability as the key ingredients to success. We have succeeded through sheer will, hard work, and belief in girls.