Threds of Red 
Providing protection, Promoting dignity, Preserving life long learning...period. 
Our Story

The humanitarian trip that inspired a nurse

​​ In January of 2011 I traveled to Kawempe, Uganda on one of many humanitarian medical missions. While in Africa, I met Rose, a pastor's wife who manages two schools and oversees a program that provides feminine hygiene supplies and promotes education for girls residing in the area slums.

Our conversation was intriging, because in the United States, this pivital point in a young girl's life is just another aspect of a great women's issue we take for granted without a second thought. But in developing countries, it is taboo to talk about menstruation. When the subject is brought up and women are asked "so what do you do?" the answer quite often, is...stay home and out of public. Without access to hygiene supplies, there is little choice. For children, it is much worse.

She told me the story of one young student who suddenly stopped attending classes. After a week of absence, Rose called upon the child, visiting her squalid locale. There she found the girl, dressed only in a ragged pair of men's trousers held up around her torso by a piece of frayed rope. She had began her menses. Alone, scared and soiled in the dried blood we refer to as "womanhood." 




​​​I flew home after the mission in tears. My heart was broken for this child. And as I recalled the explicit details of my conversation with the pastor's wife, reality struck me like a bolt of lightening. This was one girl, but there were more girls just like her. In many places...all around the world.

I thought about my beautiful daughter. How we shopped for "big girl panties" when her day came. How we lovingly celebrated her passage to womanhood. How she never missed a day of school because she had her period. And I cried.

I returned to Uganda the following year. In collaboration with fellow mission workers, we created a small endeavor providing 100 kits with reusable sanitary supplies and underpants to the girls at Rose's school. We included instruction on puberty, feminine hygiene care, health and wellness. We implimented additional teaching and covered topics such as pregnancy prevention, rape, STDs and HIV/AIDS. And the girls LOVED it!

After returning home from Uganda, I felt a renewed sense of hope that we could make a difference. As women, we are linked together by this Thred of Red, which we all must face for the very first time... until it visits us for it's last. Together, let us provide the opportunity for all young women to embrace their right of passage with confidence and dignity. 




About the Founder

Laurie Freeman RN, BSN, CPN
Following that inaugural mission trip to Africa, Laurie has continued to serve on 12 international medical missions with a local organization, Project Helping Hands and internationally reknown Operation Smile. Additionally, she has joined an international emergency response team with Samaritan's Purse.

In her free time, she works at the Shriner's Hospital for Children, participates in multisport events like triathlon and duathlon, and even completed a full marathon raising funds for her feminine hygiene program in Uganda.

Laurie resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband Matthew, dogs Zoey and Bella and has three adult children Erik, Chelsea and Kai.

 

Raised in Las Vegas, Laurie relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest in 2006. 

As a young teenager, she frequently dreamed of traveling to Africa and felt a calling to work with underserved, impoverished children abroad.

After working as a pediatric nurse for over 20 years, Laurie found her way on her first humanitarian medical mission in 2007 and hasn't looked back!