Press Release – Raising Awareness for Periods and Girls’ Education for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25

Each year, the ECO_CARE team reflects on the importance of eliminating violence against girls and women in different forms and settings. For the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25th, we decided to focus on a less obvious form of violence, but one of great importance: granting access to education for girls by providing sustainable, locally-produced period supplies for girls in Tanzania. For economic, cultural, and physical reasons, having her period is one of the main reasons that a girl will miss out on school, especially in low- to middle-income countries—either due to a lack of pads, tampons, and sanitary facilities; discrimination and stigma; or a lack of access to the educational resources on safe, hygienic practices.

Through collaboration with Valentina Russo, the talented illustrated and owner of Mucho Amor (@mucho__amor), and the ECO_CARE team, a gofundme  campaign was launched at the beginning of the month to raise money and awareness for the project “A Period Should End a Sentence, Not Girls’ Education.” This project revolves around an Emergency Period Kit which consists of a small white purse hand sewn by the girls of the vocational school of the Nyasa District, Songea, Tanzania, with printed artwork by Valentina. The girls will be receivers of the kits, as well, which will include 3 reusable pads (locally produced in Tanzania for Tanzanian girls), a deodorant, a soap, a notebook and pen for girls to track periods and journal emotions and ideas, and a few tea bags and other comfort items. The initial monetary goal of the initiative was to raise enough funds to create 50 Emergency Period Kits, which was calculated to be around 500€ (at 10€ a kit).

We are excited to announce, with gratitude in our hearts for all those who have donated and supported so far, that we reached our goal of 500€ and on November 15th we received an update from our project partners in Tanzania that the printing of the purses by the girls at the vocational school has already begun! The quote “A Period Should End a Sentence, Not Girls’ Education” is being printed in both black and a multi-colored pattern to be stitched onto the hand-sewn purses created by the girls themselves.

This initiative has also received support from the Head Master and pupils of the Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, England, a specialist music school for school-aged children, after we learned that they were also raising awareness for girls’ education and health, coined as “period poverty”, on their monthly Mufti Day!

As we approach November 25th and celebrate girls and women around the world who deserve to be free from all forms of violence, including access to education even while having their periods, we encourage you to learn more about periods and accessing education. Check out the official UN website for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women or watch the Netflix Documentary “Period. End of a Sentence.” which was an inspiration for the Emergency Period Kit project and the powerful quote, “a period should end a sentence, not girls’ education.”