Tackling Period Poverty in Their Community
Since starting at World Savvy as its new Minnesota Program Associate, I’ve been preparing students and teachers to be ready (and excited) for the World Savvy Festival this coming April 21st while also planning and managing my first festival.
With the event being only a few months away, I want to reflect on a student team that I had the opportunity to work with during my first few months at World Savvy, an experience that motivates me each day as I work with students from all over Minnesota.
During the 2018-2019 school year, Kirsten Hunt, World Savvy Classrooms educator at Clara Barton Open School, taught her 6th-grade students about world poverty. Using World Savvy’s case study and other resources, they learned about how poverty in Central America stems from complex social factors and historical trauma — then examined the ways poverty exists in their own community in the Twin Cities.
Among her students were Annika, Naomi, and Sylvia, who after forming the student team “For Girls by Girls,” decided to research period poverty around the world after watching the Netflix documentary, Period. End of Sentence. This motivated them to tackle 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.”
After completing their K2A project, For Girls by Girls then brought their project to the World Savvy Festival 2019 at Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN. After presenting in front of judges and students, they received 2nd place for the Human Rights category in the Junior Division. Following this, Hunt and the program team selected For Girls by Girls 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.
At the Pitchfest at our World of Good 2019 fundraiser in Minneapolis, For Girls by Girls, along with two other local teams, introduced their projects to nearly 200 attendees. Taking home 2nd place that night, they received a $500 grant to fund their project.
“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.”
Taking a break during the summer, Annika, Naomi, and Sylvia finally came together (now as 7th graders) in September 2019 to utilize the grant. Working closely with me and the program team in Minneapolis, For Girls by Girls (along with first-prize winners, H.E.L.P. Kit) bought the supplies, packed the supplies into 3 boxes and delivered each to three locations around the Twin Cities on October 28.
I am grateful to have had the wonderful opportunity to not only work with the students prepare each box and packet, but also to travel with and watch them rejoice in finally setting out on this journey that they’ve 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 the 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 27th) and in St. Paul, MN (April 21st). You can sign up here!
If you are interested in learning more about how our programs can support your school and classroom, you can reach out to us at email@example.com.
Saniya Rana is the Minnesota Program Associate 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.