The Orchid Project exists to invest in the lives of girls in Ghana by meeting a basic need to promote healthy personal hygiene and cultivate positive self-esteem in order to prepare them to be leaders in their schools and in our global community. The Orchid Project was developed out of a compassion for girls who did not have access or could not afford feminine hygiene products and were not going to school for the equivalent of at least two months because of it.
In 2014, after reading an article about young girls in Africa being unable to attend school due to the lack of feminine hygiene products, Jennifer Rice felt the urge to do something. In May 2016, when one of Jennifer’s couponing customers asked to purchase all of her feminine hygiene products, she learned of the perfect way to assist young girls in Africa. Jennifer’s customer visited Johannesburg, South Africa where she met a lady mentoring and providing feminine hygiene products to assist school-aged girls. Jennifer was thankful that God provided her a way to actually make an impact. She posted her testimony on social media. It was the type of impact she had envisioned two years ago and was grateful that this opportunity to help had come.
In February 2016, Delesslyn Kennebrew read an article on Flipagram about girls in Kenya that missed weeks of school because they were menstruating. They missed school because they would not have the appropriate feminine hygiene products during their cycle. Either they could not afford them or they had no access to the products they needed. Delesslyn shared this article with her sister, Dorcas, and they both felt compelled to do something to address this issue.
When Delesslyn saw Jennifer’s social media post about her couponing experience, she reached out to develop a partnership. At their first meeting to discuss the potential of partnering, they felt that God had brought them together to help shape and change the lives of young girls in Africa. Although they originally read about the plights of the girls at different times and in different spaces, they were confident that God was bringing them together to show love, bring dignity, and support the educational pursuits of girls in Africa.
So, The Orchid Project was born!
By June 2016, Delesslyn and Jennifer began to set in motion their desire to help. They began to research, brainstorm and plan specific ways that they could meet the needs of these girls and garner support from friends, families, strangers, and neighbors. One primary goal was to initiate contact with someone that was closer to the situation than they were. So, they reached out to Missionary Lillian Brown of the World Mission Board for the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. who was already planning a trip to Ghana in August 2016. She was excited to hear the vision of The Orchid Project and felt that it was an answer to her prayers. Thus, quickly offering a few suggestions for how to provide healthy and cost effective solutions for the long term support of these girls.
Through the summer, Jennifer and Delesslyn invited individual and church partners to support this effort and by the end of the summer they were able to provide enough gifts for 50 school aged girls! The missionaries delivered their gifts and shared many pictures, emails, stories about their gratitude.
In the future, The Orchid Project will continue to:
The Orchid Project will continue to help girls #StayOnTOP!
Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div.