Days for Girls—an international organization with the mission of offering endless opportunities to girls in developing countries—has made its way to Coronado by the efforts of one student in the Class of 2019. Outstanding student, and Harvard Prize Book Award recipient, Nathaniel Kim started this club at Coronado High School last fall after working with this organization during the summer of 2017. “I was introduced to Days for Girls from some ladies at my church in La Mesa,” he says. Getting over fifteen students involved in the club, Nate strived to spread awareness on campus and in the community about the lack of educational opportunities for these girls.
In developing countries, where girls do not have access to proper hygiene and sanitation solutions, they must stay home from school when they are undergoing menstruation. In some countries where there is a cultural stigma against menstruation, girls are isolated in tents until they complete their cycle. This biological reality prevents girls in these countries from going to school for almost a third of the year, denying them equal opportunities for an education.
Days for Girls International works to eliminate that stigma and these girls’ limitations. A solution is to provide specially-designed kits to ensure that girls would be able to go to school while they are on their period. In collaborating with and receiving feedback from the girls who tested these kits, they were finally able to patent an extensively modified kit that uses a minimal amount of water, dries efficiently, and can be worn comfortably for many years.
One kit contains a variety of health products. The basic kit is called the POD, or Portable Object of Dignity, containing two absorbent liners and one waterproof shield. When these are sent out, organization volunteers and associates educate the girls on hygiene and how to use their kits. There are many variations and additives to the kits, which the Days for Girls club of Coronado helps prepare.
Over the course of the year, the club has dyed underwear, meticulously cut out multiple types of fabric into the appropriate shape, and has even organized fundraisers and bake sales to benefit Days for Girls International. What goes into one kit is more than what you see. To make just one kit, it would take approximately sixteen hours, taking into account preparing the fabrics and sewing all the components together. The pads include several different buttons and clips, which are also sewn on to improve usability and convenience.
Although sixteen hours is a lot of time to make just one kit, these pads are reusable and can be washed and reused for up to three years. However, with all the work and effort put in by the club throughout the year, they were able to prepare enough fabric to make 250 kits. As their goal was 100 kits, this was an outstanding result.
Their year ended back in April, but all of their work was not recognized until June 7th at the CUSD School Board Meeting. At the meeting, the Club of Year, voted by the Associated Student Body (ASB) at Coronado High School, was awarded to one club who stood out in its accomplishment and service. In recent CHS history, this was the first year that the Club of the Year award was presented at a school board meeting. After much deliberation, the ASB decided that Days for Girls, a new club on campus, would be named Club of the Year for their excellent service in providing equal opportunities for girls in developing countries.
Congratulations to Nate Kim and the Days for Girls club for their exceptional efforts this past year. Over the summer, the club members will continue their service with a group of Days for Girls volunteers in La Mesa.