Causes We Support
Days for Girls began in 2008 when Founder and CEO Celeste Mergens was working with a family foundation in Kenya when she began 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 1400.
As she was getting prepared to return to Nairobi, Celeste went to bed with the devastating situation weighing heavy on her mind. In the middle of the night she woke up with a nagging question: “What are girls doing for feminine hygiene?” She ran to the computer and sent an email to the Assistant Director of the orphanage. He replied right away. “Nothing. They wait in their rooms.” Celeste learned that girls were sitting on cardboard for several days each month, often going without food unless someone would bring it to them. This set in motion her first intervention - disposable pads. But Celeste and her team quickly discovered a major problem - 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 in use today. Each of the 28 iterations that followed would be informed by extensive feedback, and designed to meet unique cultural and environmental conditions in communities throughout the world. What would eventually become clear in the years following Days for Girls’ beginning was just how much of a difference hygiene solutions would make in assisting women and girls to break the cycle of poverty and live lives of dignity.
Today, Days for Girls has reached over 640,000 women and girls in 100+ countries with Kits, each of which will last a girl or woman 2 - 3 years. This translates into over 115 million days of education and opportunity that would otherwise be lost without sustainable hygiene solutions.