Los Gatos Weekly Times
High school students combat `period poverty' in Tanzania
A group of Los Gatos High School students started a fundraiser to combat “period poverty” in Tanzania.
Period poverty, which is the lack of access to menstrual products and education, can be a barrier to education and lead to inequalities in developing areas.
Elena Rexach, Karolina Buszko, Kate Vanderbosch, Sara Martin and Sree Sareday are students in David Homa's social entrepreneurship class, which requires students to design a research project that makes an impact in a community.
The group is raising money on Gofundme to expand existing menstrual hygiene management programs at primary schools in Tanzania through School-toschool International. The program teaches teens to manage their periods and provides them with the necessary products, which are locally made and reusable.
From the start, the group knew they wanted to do something that impacted education inequality.
“We come from a school where we get a really good education, but we know not everyone has that,” Rexach said. “It was sort of important for us to support the education of other people who might not get that same privilege.”
The students reached out to School-to-school International, an international development organization dedicated to improving the lives of students and their communities worldwide through access to quality education.
STS has a menstrual hygiene program that educates students in Tanzania with information on the body's processes, genderbased violence and periods to remove taboos and provide accurate information for students. The program also supplies students with locally made, reusable pads and underwear.
“That organization believed in providing a very holistic approach to learning, and we were all very excited about that, and supporting all the needs of the student instead of just giving them things,” Rexach said. “That's a big mission of our class, too. It's more than giving people things; it's understanding why they need them and understanding how to give it to them, and working with them.”
As of April 7, the group had raised nearly $2,000 of their $4,888 goal.
“I think menstrual hygiene is impacting so many people across the world, and preventing them from getting an education,” Sareday said. “We need to get comfortable talking about periods and educating people with the right information so we can be safe, and so it doesn't interfere with other aspects of their life, their relationships, their education, their athletics.”
The group has been hosting several fundraisers in the local community at restaurants like Chipotle and Pizza My Heart, Vanderbosch said.
“We have an Instagram account and multiple social media platforms where we like to share what we're doing and our updates. We're also reaching out to all our families and making sure we get posters put up at our school to get the word out to as many people as we can.”
All of the funds donated will go toward the program. If the group's goal is reached, the money raised will cover the program at seven schools for a full year.