|Lunette Amazing Woman: Kate Brooks|
Apr 15, 2015 0 Comments
Team Lunette — creators of the world’s most beloved menstrual cup - responded to the inspiration of innovative thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and heroines of exceptional bravery by launching Amazing Women 2015 Series! Throughout 2015 Lunette’s blog will feature stories of amazing women— in their own words — from all over the world – who inspire women locally and globally to be - AMAZING!
This month’s amazing woman – a woman of exceptional bravery – is Kate Brooks.
Kate Brooks started the non-profit, A Future and A Hope, in Nakuru, Kenya to help orphans and assist the community. In addition to their 5 biological children (4 girls, 1 boy), she and her husband are primary caretakers of nine Kenyan girls and oversee a separate family-run orphanage for boys.
When Kate decided to make her mark on the world, she took a hands-on approach. Knowing that children are orphaned everyday by the AIDs epidemic, Kate and her family left their Texas home in 2005 intent on making a small dent in this staggering problem.
She approached Lunette a few years ago seeking a donation of menstrual cups for women in her community, as well as her houseful of girls. In fact, Caron from Lunette (USA) visited her in 2012 to participate in their community outreach and menstrual cup distribution meetings. The lack of feminine hygiene products is a key obstacle that keeps Kenyan women in poverty by keeping them from work and school during their menstrual cycle.
In Africa, birth control is practically nonexistent, the percentage of single moms is sky high, and AIDs rages on stealing caretakers from babies and children long before they are ready to fend for themselves.
Kate and her husband created their small non-profit to raise the “orphans-no-more” in a family environment. Their community efforts include food distribution, offering comfort and aid to dying individuals, educating women about reproductive health, and distributing menstrual cups to local women.
Following Kate’s day-to-day activities on Facebook is fascinating. Her posts about daily life are far from ordinary. Having chicken for dinner isn’t as simple as going to the Piggly Wiggly for a fryer. It means catching one from the yard that likely has a pet name. She described the building process of their mud home, primitive methods when compared to first world countries but still used in third world countries.
Sacrificing the comforts of modern life to take care of a few in a harsh, unforgiving part of the world sets Kate and the Brooks family apart. This is one woman who voices her values and lives up to them.
Learn more about Kate – in her own words in reply to questions Lunette asked her.
What’s that special thing about you that makes you amazing? Why do you think you were nominated?
I am quite humbled to be selected for this "Amazing Women" post! I think I was nominated because I LIVE my life and am willing to take risks to help others. I love empowering women and helping people the world overlooks.
What specifically do you do to move the needle in this world - what is the ‘Mission Statement of You?
I live in Kenya, East Africa with my 14 children: 9 orphans-no-more, 5 biological, my husband, and lots of farm animals. We live a simple life off-grid in a mud house - no modern appliances (to teach our kids sustainability and that we can make a difference).
We took in our Kenyan daughters when most of them were pre-teens or teens because their plights were grim. An orphan teen girl will be used as a modern day slave, or would have to sell herself to feed herself. She has no rights in Kenya, being orphaned, no ability to attend school (which is not free) and no one to stand up for her. These girls have been a part of our family now for over 7.5 years.
With that said, we all use menstrual cups in our family, reducing our waste... After getting cups for our girls and myself, I decided to try and share this newfound item to the locals because here in Kenya, many women cannot afford pads or tampons. They do not talk about periods with anyone! It is a hush hush topic. Many women admit to missing school because of their flow. They have tried using rags, blankets, cotton balls, even rocks and dry cow dung to stop the blood from getting on their clothes. So, part of what I do to make a difference is visit local villages and talk about menstrual cups with women. I teach them their anatomy and how their bodies are beautiful and how they work. Then I give out cups to women so they can be empowered to live their lives without worrying about their periods.
I also teach people how to build houses out of earth so even a single mother can build her own home, and we rescue animals, too!
If you were gifted with $1,000,000 tomorrow with the stipulation that you had to spend it on someone or something other than yourself what would it be?
I would probably do many different things with a million dollars — starting with buying a few more pieces of land, building earth houses and opening up more homes for orphans with family settings like our own by putting a mom and dad in place to care for the children in a family way and allowing them to live there rent free and enable them to farm the land to help sustain their home. I would also do more menstrual cup distribution to women all over Kenya and I would help more children in Kenya get an education. We would probably also do a lot of food and aid distribution to people living with AIDS.
Kate telling about menstruation in Kenya:
Kate showing how to use a cup:
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