“Periods During the Pandemic: NO Girl Left Behind”
Initiative- Ending Period Poverty
How I came about starting my project?
I launched this initiative due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted many public health disparities, ranging from healthcare unavailability to mass unemployment but less frequently discussed, lack of access to Menstrual Hygiene Products in third world countries. Looking closer to home the statistics were equally shocking. In the U.S. 1 in 5 girls miss a class or school due to lack of access to period products. Even, more girls miss school in the low socioeconomic areas due to lack of access to menstrual hygiene products. I too belong to a high school where the majority of students come from similar backgrounds. This raises within me a sense of purpose to try to help those girls who may be negatively impacted and suffering in silence in our everyday community high schools. As a first-world country, where simple access to such an important product is overlooked, it raises the bigger concern of how we view gender equality in our country. It is paramount that we, as citizens support initiatives that promote access to feminine hygiene products and consequently to education for all of our today’s youth.
As a youth advocate, I wanted to make a change, so I took ACTION. I started a non-profit, Global Girls Initiative which provides girls a platform to help them educate, empower, and improve their communities through STEAM-based real-life projects. One of the real-life STEAM-based projects we initiated for science is “Periods During the Pandemic: No Girl Left Behind” to end period poverty. My goal is for every girl to have access to the basic necessity of menstrual hygiene products so she may have the quality of education she deserves not only in my state of FL but all over the country.
Donating 50,000-period products to all the Title I Middle and High school and Spring of Tampa Bay.
Through my initiative, “Periods During the Pandemic: No Girl Left Behind” I am donating over 50,000 menstrual hygiene products (MHP) to ALL the Title One Middle and High School girls in Hillsborough County and Spring of Tampa Bay (local domestic violence shelter). Working with the Hillsborough County School district members Mary Lou Whaley and Glenda Rotger Navarrow I was able to donate and distribute to 11 of Title I High Schools (Hillsborough, Armwood, Brandon, Freedom, Jefferson, Lennard, Leto, Plant City High, Spoto, and Tampa Bay Tech.
Title I Middle Schools: Adams, Buchanan, Burnett, Dowdell, Eisenhower, Ferrell, Franklin, Giunta, Greco, Jennings, Madison, Mann, Marshall, McLane, Memoria, Monore, Orange Grove, Pierce, Sgt. Smith, Shields, Sligh, Stewart, Tomlin, Turtle Creek, Webb, and Young
I also had the opportunity to speak at the Hillsborough County School Board Meeting to share my initiative and work with the school board to provide free and easy access to MHP to all the schools in Hillsborough County.
Also, started a campaign #PeriodsInPandemics on my IG platform (@global.gi) to spread awareness and end the stigma associated with menstruation. We had students, friends, advocates, and leaders from all around the world share their message to remove the stigma related to periods.
Finally, I held a sustainable conference with the University of Tampa (PEACE group) to educate girls and women on ways to use more eco-friendly MHP. Through this conference, we asked our attendees to look at the “Feminine Hygiene Aisle” through a new lens, an eco-friendly lens. We discussed ways to spread awareness, new eco-friendly product options (cups, reusable pads, & organic pads), and proper usage. Our goal was to create more of a positive impact on climate action by spreading awareness on sustainable period products.