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Published on June 2nd, 2017 | by Rachel Anderson

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Freshmen advocate for free feminine products

For their Civic Action Project, three freshmen girls, Savannah Yassin (’20), Hanna Skikne (’20) and Laurence Keungne (’20), are raising money in order to make feminine products in the nurse’s office free for all students. The three wanted an issue that was personal; one that could actually make a difference at Samo.

At the end of every freshman seminar class on campus, there is a final project called the Civic Action Project. It teaches students how to organize themselves, find an issue they all believe in, prepare a presentation and evidence and actually go out into the community to fix the issue. The majority of the time, students are unable to realistically solve the issue, but with Yassin, Skikne and Keungne, they have a chance to really fix their problem.

The nurse’s office currently charges 50 cents for tampons and other feminine products in demand, due to the fact that the nurse’s office is only provided $1600 annually to buy medical supplies—including feminine products—for all students and staff. Yassin, Skikne and Keungne chose to raise money for free feminine products because it was at the heart of the Samo community and directly affected many students on campus.

“Their choice in working to make feminine products equally accessible to all female students is an admirable feat,” freshman seminar teacher Annette Gromala said. “I am immensely inspired by their dedication to making a significant difference at Samo.”

As part of the Civic Action Project, the students have to collect data to support their cause. In a survey, the three found that 1 in 16 girls struggle to pay for their necessary hygiene products.

“We know the struggle of not having a feminine hygiene product when you need one, or not having spare change with you to buy one,” Skikne said. “We thought [free feminine products’ would be something that could benefit a lot of other girls around our school.”

After picking their issue and collecting the right evidence, Yassin, Skikne and Keungne needed a way to really make their project impactful.

“We have been asking for donations and also asked the school to reconsider the budget, and to provide more funds specifically for this cause,” Yassin said.

On May 10, they started a GoFundMe for the cause, https://www.gofundme.com/free-feminine-products-at-samohi, with a goal of $1000.
As of May 30, they have raised $225, and will be collecting donations until they reach their goal. In addition to their GoFundMe, they have spoken to the school board about reconsidering the budget allocated to the nursing program.

On May 22, after presenting their evidence and argument at the board meeting, the school board made an executive decision to make feminine products free at Samo and all other high schools and middle schools in the district.

“I’m really proud that they took our topic to heart and made this change,” Yassin said.

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