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Tackling Period Poverty in Their Community

Tackling Period Poverty in Their Community
January 27, 2020

Since starting at World Savvy as their new Minnesota Program Associate, I’ve been preparing students and teachers to be ready for the World Savvy Festival this coming April 21. With my first Festival only months away, I want to reflect on a student team I had the opportunity to work with during my first few months at World Savvy last summer.

Last school year, World Savvy educator Kirsten Hunt taught her 6th-grade students, using our case study resources, on how poverty in Central America stems from complex social factors and historical trauma and then examined how poverty exists in their community in the Twin Cities.

Among her students were Annika, Naomi, and Sylvia, who formed the student team “For Girls by Girls” to research period poverty after watching the Netflix documentary, Period. End of Sentence, and would later focus on tackling period poverty in their local community.

“We chose this issue because it is important and empowering.”

In the early stage [research] of their Knowledge-to-Action (K2A) project, they found that 1.2 billion women globally lack access to basic sanitation and hygiene, and one in five girls in the United States miss school for reasons due to period poverty. “It’s a basic right that we get through our school, but there are a lot of schools and girls who won’t receive the education [about menstrual health] that they need.”

They would later bring their project to the World Savvy Festival 2019 at Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN, and received 2nd place in the Human Rights category in the Junior Division. Following this, Hunt and the World Savvy Program Team selected the team to be part of World Savvy’s very first Pitchfest, an opportunity to receive grants for students to bring projects from solutions on paper to life.

“We want to show the city, the state, and the world that sanitary supplies are basic human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”

After receiving a $500 grant from the Pitchfest, Annika, Naomi, and Sylvia came together after the summer break in September 2019 to work on bringing their project to life. Working closely with us, For Girls by Girls bought and packed supplies, and delivered boxes to three shelters and community centers around the Twin Cities on October 28, 2019.

I am grateful to have had the fantastic opportunity to work with these students to prepare each box and to travel with and watch them rejoice in finally setting out on this journey they had begun a year ago. You can watch their journey here!

“I’m a 13-year-old writing business emails, so that’s pretty cool. And it’s pretty cool that we get to bring our vision to life and that we get to do this.”

This is just one of the many stories from our World Savvy Classrooms program and is a reason why I am excited for my first World Savvy Festival. If you are interested in volunteering at one of our festivals, we have opportunities in the Bay Area (March 27) and St. Paul, MN (April 21). You can sign up here!

If you are interested in learning more about how our programs can support your school and classroom, contact us at info@worldsavvy.org.


Saniya Rana was the Minnesota Program Assistant at World Savvy. Saniya left her hometown – New Delhi, India, at 16 years old to represent India in a global education movement called the United World Colleges (UWC) at their campus in Costa Rica. She followed her passion for intercultural understanding to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish, and Philosophy.

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