Our charity, Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust, is pleased to announce that our Encouragement Grant for 2023 has been awarded to Elka Wood of Bega and her project ‘Celebration Days for Girls’.

Elka has two children and in watching them grow she recalls her own childhood and the transition from child to adult. Realising that it can be a lonely and confusing time, Elka has felt passionate about helping young people access all the information that they need, as well as the importance of face-to-face connection and the support of community during this time.

Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust is a relatively small charity that was founded back in 1983 by Franciscans, Brother Edwin Thomas Lloyd-Jones (LFSF) and Sister Laurel Clare Lloyd-Jones (LFSF). Our Trust’s annual Encouragement Grant of $2,000 is offered with the intention to support early initiatives by individuals, or groups, that offer hope for humanity through their endeavours. Especially when offering projects for young people, marginalised people, and all whose lives might be enriched through caring, especially at this time with the major challenges that face us all.

Elka Wood’s project Celebration Days for Girls focuses on the cusp of puberty (approximately 9 – 13 years) or in the early stages of transition, and the day offers a sharing circle which includes mothers, female caregivers and also older teenage mentors.

Elka describes these days, “it begins with a shared morning tea and then time without the mums when the girls are offered comprehensive period education and activities which focus on living cyclically. Then, after lunch, the girls make fresh flower crowns for when the mothers come back to crown their daughters in a small ceremony”.

“These days can create a positive experience of first menstruation and begin to untangle the menstrual taboos that leave so many who feel alone in their menstrual experience. In hearing the first period stories of a variety of older women, not just from their own mothers, this allows the girls to realise that half of the world’s population is having a menstrual cycle and that without this totally normal and feminine effort, humanity would cease to exist.”

Elka’s vision shines through in her comment “I love seeing young women empowered by their cycle and valuing themselves highly because of what their bodies can do, rather than dreading it.”

Anyone interested to know more can contact Elka by email at theovulationelk@gmail.com