Thrifty Slayer: Sharing love by giving a helping hand

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This month of love is all about showing those around you how much you love them and as we all know though you can give without loving you can never love without giving. Our Guest on the blog knows a thing or two about giving which is why she set up Thrifty Slayer as part of Slay Dot Com Aid Initiative. Ijeamaka Nwizu is the beauty behind behind intitative which she says was borne out of her constantly thinking of how she needed to feed people. She wasn’t comfortable with knowing so many people went to bed hungry, and after a chat with her then Vicar she decided to open a soup kitchen, where she started feeding people every Sunday.  What started out as a feeding programme that provided hot Sunday lunches to about 50 people at the Angwa-Zamalafiya Asokoro community in the Abuja suburbs,  has now grown to a programme that feeds 250 – 270.  To help raise fund thrifty slayer sells new or preloved apparel donated from all over and also has a recycling initiative. Lets read more about the amazing work this charity is doing.

In this month of love Thrifty Slayer gives us an overview of it’s activities through which they show loves to hundreds week after week!

Ijeamaka Nwizu- Founder,Thrifty Slayer

Thrifty Slayer is part of SlayDotCom Aid initative,  a registered charity in Nigeria whose core mission is to create and execute programmes that provide succour to the rural poor using recycling as a sustainable approach to cater to unmet needs in target communities.

SlayDotCom Aid Initiative was registered in 2017 but commenced operations in the last quarter of 2016 below is a summary of all they do.

 

AN OVERVIEW OF SLAY DOT COM AID INITIATIVE’S WORK

The country’s harsh economic conditions have resulted in widespread food poverty particularly in rural communities. In our bid to combat modern day hunger, Thrifty Slayer-run soup kitchens currently feed 200 in a low-resource settlement in the F.C.T weekly. We additionally distribute food to random clusters of vulnerable people in various parts of the city which brings the total number of persons fed to about 250-270 people each week. The weekly feeding programme is particularly important to us because for the many we feed, our meals are the one good meal they get in an entire week. The programme is part of a wider campaign to adopt pilot indigent communities by providing them basic care and provision.

FEEDING PROGRAMMES (a.k.a. soup kitchens)

In addition to our weekly feeding, we organize regular food drives/outreaches sometimes around the occasional holiday (like Valentine’s day, Easter, Children’s day and Eid) with diverse vulnerable groups. We provide nutritional meals usually alternating between cooked and raw food packs. The raw food packs consist of either semovita flour and soup ingredients (for 6 meals) or raw rice and condiments for jollof rice (for 4 meals). This ensures that on an average, a family or an individual can prepare a complete family meal or feed for a few more days in the course of the week respectively.  Our work extends to Nimo – a community in the eastern part of the country where we provide over 300 meals monthly at a cost of N100,000 per month. We recently had to put a hold on the Nimo feeding due to paucity of funds. We have been very intentional about substantially reducing the use of plastics in our food distribution and so have gone from using single use sytrofoam or disposable plastic packs to having members of the community bring their containers from home to collect food. The transition has not been easy on us or them but is a measurable step towards environmental sustainability on our part.

REUSABLE PAD PROJECT

Through our interventions we have realised that most women and girls in our target operational areas use pieces of old cloth or rags (often unsanitary) for their menstrual periods because they cannot afford disposable sanitary pads. We responded to this situation  by initiating our reusable sanitary pads project. The project aims at meeting the immediate menstrual hygiene needs of the women and girls by providing a more dignified option, encouraging productivity as well as reducing municipal solid waste. We developed a prototype from clothing that we are unable to sell or give out at our outreaches. In February 2018, we trained 25 women and girls on production of the reusable pads by hand and with sewing machines. One of the participants has been engaged full time to produce pads for distribution in the communities we work.  She presently produces an average of 300 pads a month. We need to engage at least 2 more women to meet our monthly target of 1000 pads and 250 water-proof pouches (for storing used pads after changing) for distribution during outreaches. Outreaches will be organized quarterly for advocacy, education and distribution of the pads. Our work in this area is already receiving positive attention as we were invited by BBC Igbo to speak on good menstrual hygiene practices on May 28 – the World Menstrual Hygiene Management Day.  See link  We organized an outreach to mark the 2019 Menstrual Hygiene day at the Government Secondary School, Rubochi in the Kuje Area Council of the FCT. with about 260 students, 7 teachers and the Vice Principal in attendance. We spoke to them about the menstrual hygiene day, basic menstruation facts and menstrual hygiene management. We distributed our sanitary kits to the girls each comprising a set of 3 reusable pads, a carry-on pouch (for storing used pads), an information leaflet (on the use and care of the pads), a peg (to secure the pad while drying) and a bottle of liquid detergent (made by one of our trainees from our soap making empowerment program). We discussed the care and use of the reusable sanitary pads and then gave the girls the opportunity to ask more private questions in the absence of the boys.

reusable pads

 

EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMMES

Our aim is to organize an empowerment programme every quarter. So far we have organized training programmes on soap and petroleum jelly making as well as reusable pad production. We assisted 2 beneficiaries of the soap making programme in setting up their businesses. We have employed a beneficiary of the reusable pad project and are looking to engage at least 2 more to mass-produce for distribution. We have plans to organize more training programmes particularly for school –aged girls to make their pads for personal use as a way of promoting good menstrual hygiene management in our operational areas. We are particularly proud of one of the women in the Angwa Zamalafiya community who we helped get a temporary job at Branz Super Store – one of our retail partners in our feeding programme . She used her entire earnings to buy provisions at wholesale prices from the store and set up a small shop in the community. She sells provisions and other consumables and is doing quite well for herself now.

ADDRESSING FOOD AND TEXTILE WASTE

Our work seeks to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns through waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Food waste: We buy perishables in bulk and are able to reach and feed more this way. Sometimes we purchase via Chowberry which sells  goods close to the sell by date, on their platform, we have access to a variety and in most cases, top brands of food items for our work at heavily discounted rates. Our guiding principle when dealing with consumables nearing their shelf life is to ensure that the items we distribute are consumed as close to their ‘best before’ date as possible. We either serve cooked food or re-package in smaller portion to discourage hoarding.

Textile waste: The effect of fashion becoming disposable, fast and cheap is that we are fast headed for a waste crisis. The need to recycle is now more urgent than ever as climate change puts enormous pressure on the ecosystem. Having recognized that there is a potential supply stream from a sizeable segment of the population in Nigeria to substantially meet the demand for pre-owned, affordable quality items, Thrifty Slayer sources its entire stock in-country. We aim for zero-waste so clothing not sold or given out at outreaches are used, subject to suitability, to produce reusable sanitary pads.

The gains for the environment are huge; by merely extending the average life of clothing and accessories that would have made it to dumpsites generating greenhouse gases or littering our roadsides, polluting our water bodies or clogging drainages, we significantly reduce our carbon footprints. What we do now, with the charity store and our reusable pad project, barely utilizes 70% of the clothes collected so our long term plan is to develop a collection system in the communities for proper disposal of the reusable pads and purchase a ragging machine to reprocess unusable clothing for other production processes as we work towards achieving a circular economy. The idea is to keep clothes and accessories in use for as long as possible and extract maximum value from them whilst in use then recover and regenerate materials at the end of their service life.We continue to advocate for textile recycling which is the basis upon which Thrifty Slayer as a charity store operates. Our stock for our charity store is sourced 100% in-country and our reusable sanitary pad project by re-purposing donated clothing that cannot be sold or given out at our outreaches, maximizes value and extends the average life of most clothing that come our way.

Thrifty slayer charity store

We are always excited to share stories of our activities and the impact of donors’ support. Please follow @thriftyslayer on instagram particularly our instagram stories highlights for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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