By Merritt Frey, Executive Director
Here at Mali Rising, we love Girl Scouts. Last year, we partnered with a troop based near our Utah office. We connected that troop with one of our Girls Groups at our school in Kolimba, Mali and the troop sent colorful, thoughtful letters of encouragement to the girls in Mali. (This year, we're partnering with the same troop in a year-long exchange between the two sides!)
At that troop meeting last year, we discussed various barriers to girls' education in Mali. One scout -- Skyler Dey -- took that discussion to heart. She decided to focus on a solution to one of those barriers -- a lack of supplies for managing girls' periods.
Girls in our villages often have no tools for managing their periods. This means they may stay home from school for the week of their period. They miss as much as 45 days of school each year, and often fall far behind in classes. Imagine how well you'd do in classes if you missed a week each month!
Skyler decided to address the problem in her Girl Scout Silver Award Project. She connected with our on-going effort to create sustainable menstrual kits for girl students. The kits use the proven Days for Girls model to provide everything a girl needs to manage her period for 3 years, without creating problematic waste.
When I first met with Skyler I was impressed by her determination to make 20 kits all be herself. This involved learning various sewing techniques, gathering donated materials, and coordinating literally hundreds of kit pieces.
Honestly, I wondered if she could do it. But Skyler clearly didn't wonder, she just got to work. All summer long Skyler worked on her kits. And at a troop meeting in late September, she delivered 20 beautiful kits for our girls.
Skyler's hard work will truly help change the lives of 20 girls. Over the next three years, Skyler's kits will give those girls back 2,700 days of school. Education changes lives for the better, and Skyler just gave 20 girls a real chance to use the power of education to its fullest!