Deidra Mwalimu wants to help women be what they want, without limits.
Her non-profit organization, Network of Women (NOW), helps girls and women in need by donating feminine hygiene products. And this week he’s hosting his first annual End Period Poverty fundraising campaign.
According to a study by BMC Women’s Health, approximately 10% of menstruating American college girls live in monthly poverty, which means they have limited access to feminine hygiene products, education, facilities and management. waste. And 14% have experienced it at least once in the past year.
Mwalimu founded NOW in 2020 with the goal of providing feminine hygiene products and supporting women’s health and wellness in Baton Rouge and beyond. It is sponsored by the LSU Women’s Center, Athleta Inc. and others.
The association distributed Ubibi—a Kiswahili word meaning “big motherhood” – bags filled with reusable and disposable sanitary napkins, underwear, soap and other basic hygiene products in Louisiana and Mississippi, Tanzania, Nepal and Thailand.
Mwalimu hopes these efforts will humanize the period of poverty.
“Anything about a woman’s reproductive system is part of seeing her as a full human being,” she says.
On Friday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m., NOW will launch its campaign with an introductory video on its YouTube channel. The following day, fans can meet in person for a Saturday cocktail party in honor of International Day of the Girl at Guru Baton Rouge between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. There will be a DJ, selfie station, a silent auction and cocktails. Tickets are available for purchase here.
Fundraising efforts will continue with an end-of-period poverty supply campaign through October 11. NOW will provide several feminine hygiene drop-off points around the LSU campus. Tampons, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, lotion and wipes are all accepted donations.
Donation locations at LSU campus locations include:
- Women’s Center, 5 Union Square
- Geology and Geophysics, HE235 Howe-Russell-Kniffen
- College of Art + Design, 102 Design Building – Interior Design – Fourth Floor
- College of Business, 4011 Business Education Complex East – Third Floor
- School of Journalism, Journalism Building 213A
The organization also offers donation drop-off points at Athleta stores in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans.
A portion of these donations will be distributed to Louisiana college students. The remaining products will be placed in Ubibi bags and distributed at upcoming NOW initiative projects around the world.
For the campaign finale, Network of Women will host a panel discussion on its Instagram Live on October 11, from 7-8 p.m., to serve as an educational resource on period poverty. Mwalimu invited three guests to talk about the basic needs and rights of women, especially to break the stigma of discussing them.
“No one wants to hear about a woman’s period,” says Mwalimu. “Whenever we talk about female reproductive systems, it’s very taboo.”
Find more information about the Women’s Network – and its efforts to normalize these kinds of conversations –here.