Dr. Leslee Jaeger is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology working at Voyage Healthcare in Plymouth, Maple Grove and Crystal. Her concern for people has international reach—Jaeger does surgical mission work in the developing world. Her work in Haiti opened her eyes to another problem. When Jaeger was working in Haiti, she saw that girls and women didn’t have menstrual hygiene products and didn’t have hygiene products to use after they gave birth, she says.
Determined to help, Jaeger and others in a sewing group at Messiah Church in Plymouth sewed feminine hygiene kits which Jaeger and others on mission trips gave to girls in schools. The kits include a small cloth bag which girls use to carry their hygiene products. Most schools in Haiti do not have indoor plumbing, and the bags allow girls to carry their products without embarrassment when they go to the outdoor bathrooms.
The program grew when Jaeger encountered Haitian women looking for a way to earn a living. She and her group began buying fabric for the women to sew the menstrual hygiene kits. They are paid for their work, and mission groups distribute the kits to girls and women in need. A group of about 35 women in Minnesota supply 14 seamstresses with the materials.
Jaeger got involved with Days for Girls, an organization that mobilizes girls and women and their communities around the world, works to help end stigma around menstruation and provides health information that the girls otherwise would not have access to. They provide menstrual hygiene products that allows girls to attend school when they would otherwise stay home.
“Helping girls and women access something that we take for granted has a great impact in improving lives and keeping girls in school,” says Jaeger.