Filling in Education Gaps About Period Products
COVID has had a huge impact on our lives, particularly students whose education has been disrupted, including education about period products and menstruation.
Amanda, a Girl Scouts leader, reached out to DivaCares for a donation to help her troop of fifth grade girls with their Bronze Award. The Girl Scouts Bronze Award is awarded to a Girl Scout Junior team once they have completed a community project. This year, they decided their community project would be to provide their classmates with education about period products and menstruation, through inclusive period kits.
Many students rely on free period products available to them at their school. Due to COVID, these students would no longer have access to period products, or education on menstruation. Many of the girls on the Junior team are at the age when menarche begins. They were concerned that their friends and classmates would miss out on the crucial health class about menstruation and decided that this was going to be their community project.
“We are a fifth grade [and newly sixth grade] Girl Scout troop working on their Bronze award. Our project is to make a difference in our community by providing fifth grade girls with knowledge and education about all the period products available to them. In addition, we wanted to provide young girls in our community with access to period products, specifically sustainable period products, like period underwear and menstrual cups,” said Amanda.
Collecting Period Product Donations for the Community
As an organization Girl Scouts must do everything through donations. This troop of 10 girls took it upon themselves to raise money and collect menstrual product donations on their own, in the middle of a pandemic. They knew it was the only way they would be able to collect everything on their list for their inclusive period kits, including menstrual cups.
Amanda was familiar with the DivaCup and taught her troop about this revolutionary period product. She wanted to ensure the product offerings in their period kits were inclusive, so she reached out to DivaCares to see if it were possible to receive a donation.
“DivaCup is the most well-known brand to make menstrual cups, so we were very hopeful when we reached out!”
Earlier this year, DivaCares created a Menstrual Education Handbook that covers everything from the female reproductive anatomy to menstrual flow, and more. The handbooks were included in the donation to Amanda’s Girl Scouts troop, along with medical brochures and Model 0 DivaCups.
Each Girl Scout troop member received a period kit, in addition to their 5th grade classmates. Any additional period products they collected were sent to Operation Common Good. Operation Common Good is a community closet that makes period products available to underprivileged people across their district. Organizations liked these can’t collect and distribute donations as easily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important that we continue to support those in need, especially in these unprecedented times.
Providing Education About Period Products
With health class cancelled, Amanda and her troop wanted to ensure that not only did their classmates have access to period products but were also educated about period products and menstruation.
“We hope to take advantage of the additional instruction and education that DivaCares provides to further educate our educators.”
Education about period products is extremely important. For many students in North America, they receive menstrual health education in grades 5 through 9. However, due to COVID, many health classes were cancelled or postponed.
Outside of health class, menstrual stigmas exist in many cultures all over the world. Even in North America.
“Periods need to be talked about more! It’s a natural thing that is happening to half of the population. The more we talk about it, the more comfortable and confident everyone can be,” said Amanda.
Teaching Girl Scouts About Sustainable Period Care Options
“[Since] our girls missed out on the health class, we have taken it upon ourselves to do the educating. Along the way we have discovered that many young girls have never heard of a menstrual cup or period underwear,” said Amanda.
Although increasing in popularity over the last few years, sustainable period care options such as menstrual cups and period underwear are still not widely known. Therefore, many health class educators tend to teach students about disposables, like tampons and pads.
As more people become aware of the devastating environmental impact from disposable period products, we hope reusables will become the norm. The best way to do this, is to teach our younger generations about these options from the start.
Providing Period Kits for Years to Come
The success of their period kit project has inspired the Girl Scout troops to keep it going.
“We are eager to make this a legacy with our fellow Girl Scout troops. We are hopeful that the next class of Girl Scouts will continue to build these kits across the district, extending our outreach for years to come,” said Amanda.
To learn more about the power of the Girl Scouts experience, check out their website.