Dignity Period speakers visit West

Dignity+Period+administrator+Jane+Unger%2C+Mariam+Seba%2C+Freweini+Mebrahtu+and+senior+Mariel+McMindes+pose+for+a+picture+after+Mebrahtu%E2%80%99s+speech.
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Dignity Period speakers visit West

Dignity Period administrator Jane Unger, Mariam Seba, Freweini Mebrahtu and senior Mariel McMindes pose for a picture after Mebrahtu’s speech.

Dignity Period administrator Jane Unger, Mariam Seba, Freweini Mebrahtu and senior Mariel McMindes pose for a picture after Mebrahtu’s speech.

Dignity Period administrator Jane Unger, Mariam Seba, Freweini Mebrahtu and senior Mariel McMindes pose for a picture after Mebrahtu’s speech.

Dignity Period administrator Jane Unger, Mariam Seba, Freweini Mebrahtu and senior Mariel McMindes pose for a picture after Mebrahtu’s speech.

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Dropping out of school because you got your period is unfathomable for girls in the United States, yet for thousands of Ethiopians menstruation is an education deal breaker.

On April 28 Feminist Club welcomed Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory owner Freweini Mabrahtu to talk about Dignity Period, a non-profit organization. This organization provides sanitary products to women in Ethiopia because menstruation is a taboo subject that prevents young girls from attending school when they do not have adequate supplies.

“I shared a bed with my older sister when I had my first period. I know she saw it, but she didn’t say a word! I felt confused and alone. I had to figure everything out on my own,” Mebrahtu said.

“Half of the world’s population has, has had, or will have a period, we need to break the taboo and start having these crucial conversations. It is important that we stop viewing menstruation as anything other than a natural, healthy part of life, and instead encourage women of all ages that nothing can hold them back,” senior Mariel McMindes, founder of Operation Keep Girls in School said.

For every $4 donated, Dignity Period supplies one girl with washable hygiene products for 12-18 months. The supplies are created by 42 women 18 and older in a factory located in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Each year the factory produces 600,000 pads for girls in both Ethiopia and East Africa.  

Mebrahtu moved to the United States as a young women and became a strong, influential businesswoman. After returning to Ethiopia she saw that the girls were dealing with feelings of fear and shame just as she experienced as a child. Determined to make a change, Mebrahtu founded the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products Factory in 2009 and partnered with Dignity Period.

“As far as the feminist club, we are going to start working with Dignity Period and Freweini Mebrathu as soon as possible,” senior Poonita Sheevam, co-president of feminist club, said. “We hope to raise awareness locally and help our peers realize that the world outside of West County still has simple social issues like the menstrual cycle.”

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