We increase access to menstrual care and education by developing global partnerships, cultivating Social Enterprises, mobilizing volunteers and innovating sustainable solutions that shatter stigma and limitations for women and girls.
Days for Girls began in 2008 when our Founder, Celeste Mergens, was working with a foundation in Kenya assisting an orphanage in the outskirts of Nairobi. In the wake of historic post-election violence, the population at the orphanage had swelled from 400 children to 1,400.
Upon inquiring about the menstrual health practices of the many girls at the orphanage, Celeste learned that many were sitting on cardboard in their rooms for several days each month – often going without food unless someone would bring it to them. This set into motion her first intervention: disposable pads. But Celeste and her team quickly discovered that without any place to dispose of the pads, this was not a viable or sustainable solution.
It was time for plan B: a washable, long-lasting pad.
The first Days for Girls Kits were quite different from the design we use today. Each of the 30 iterations that followed would be informed by extensive feedback and designed to meet unique cultural and environmental conditions in communities throughout the world. It quickly became clear just how powerful menstrual health solutions are in helping menstrual women and girls break the cycle of poverty and live their lives with dignity.
Our next step was to develop a health education curriculum that would be included in each DfG Kit distribution. With user-centered product design and curriculum in place, the final stage was to launch a Social Enterprise program that enables local women to start their own Days for Girls businesses – and serve as vital thought leaders and suppliers within their own communities.