This year, I am fortunate to help lead the Girl Up club at our school. I became a member of the club last year as I have always been interested in this area of work. I was hesitant on leading the club at first because I wasn’t sure I would be prepared to do it. However, with the support of our advisor, Ms. Randall, and the club members, it has really been a highlight of my year.
Girl Up is an organization founded by the United Nations that focuses on empowering and supporting girls globally. Their main focuses include health, safety, education, and advocacy. Girl Up completes their work through the funding and support from their respective chapters/clubs across the world. As clubs, we throw fundraisers and advocate for the rights of girls around the world through a variety of means. Many members of the club this year were interested in doing a pad drive. Instead, however, we worked with an organization called Days for Girls last Sunday.
Days for Girls aims to provide girls who do not have regular access to feminine products, such as pads or tampons. It is an organization that has chapters around the world. Their work is important because in some places when girls are on their periods, their families send them to live in a shed or an unsafe area. When girls are in these locations, girls are not only high at risk of facing attacks from humans and animals but also are out of school. As females usually have their periods for a week each month, if a girl spends a week each month out of school, it is highly likely that she will eventually drop out. Days for Girls believes that if girls have access to these products, they may be able to continue to actively participate in society and school even while they’re on their periods.
Days for Girls makes reusable kits and hand-delivers them to girls across the world. The kits contain liners, panties, a washcloth, a bar of soap, and a gallon-sized Ziploc bag (which the girls use to store wet/dry items, but it also sometimes acts as “the world’s smallest washing machine” to clean their reusable sanitary products). The kits are intended to last the girls three years, which could be the amount of time just enough to lead to significant changes in their lives. Days for Girls also educates girls on their visits to distribute the kits. They speak about the menstrual cycle, the female reproductive system, and the importance of periods because communities do not always teach this to their females.
When the Girl Up club went to the meeting on Sunday, we were greeted by kind, welcoming people who were grateful to have our help. They already had set up the supplies, including sewing machines and a wide variety of resources to help us. We helped assemble 53 kits, and I believe that all the participants genuinely enjoyed the process. It is amazing how we were able to make such a tangible and significant impact on someone else‘s life. As Holton girls, we are lucky and blessed to able to help. These kits will change some girls’ lives, and I am thankful to support them. I encourage others to participate in similar activities and utilize the privileges and opportunities we have to help others.