Days for Girls
Days for Girls (DfG) is a global movement that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health solutions to girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly periods. The nonprofit organization was founded in 2008 by American woman Celeste Mergens. After visiting an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, she discovered that menstruating girls stayed in their dormitories for days, sitting on cardboard to absorb their flow, because they could not afford feminine hygiene products. Her first response was to organize donations of disposable sanitary pads, but she realized that this was not a sustainable solution — and the girls had no way to dispose of used pads.  She then developed the idea of creating washable, reusable pads and providing the girls with a personal kit of all they would need to continue their schooling with hygiene and dignity. By 2018, the DfG Kits (designed to last up to three years) and health education programs had reached more than one million girls and women in over 100 countries.
DfG Kits are made by volunteers who either work as "solo sewists" or form "teams," some of which go on to acquire the status of "chapters." These groups have formed in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each kit is in a draw-string bag and includes reusable cloth menstrual pads made up of colorful shields and liners; panties; a washcloth and soap; zip-closure plastic bags and other items. The kit enables girls to carry their clean and used pads discreetly and to take care of their own hygiene needs. During the distributions, women and girls also receive health education to break stigmas and cultural taboos associated with menstruation.
In 2012, Days for Girls International launched an Enterprise Program to help local women establish social enterprises to make and distribute kits in their own countries. Close to 70 Days for Girls Enterprises now exist in more than a dozen countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In select regions and in order to improve sustainability, Days for Girls kits also come with menstrual cups, which have a longer use life than washable cloth pads.
Days for Girls International is headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, United States, and has offices in Ghana, Guatemala, Nepal, and Uganda. The organization's impact and transparency have earned high ratings from GuideStar. Celeste Mergens, the organization's founder and CEO, was awarded a Purpose Prize by AARP in 2017.
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