This Girl is Changing The World, Period
Code Red came as an inspiration when I put myself in the position of a woman who had no access to menstrual products. As I imagined myself going through my period and not having the basic items to make my life comfortable, I realized how hard it was to not have pads, tampons, or other necessities in emergency settings. After volunteering with homeless shelters and international organizations that work with women and girls, I became interested in the way poor sanitation affects girls and women around the world. I also realized that many women do not have the same access to the resources that I (and lots of us!) have. From then on, I wanted to make sure that there was nothing preventing a woman from being unstoppable during her period.
At first, I thought I was powerless when it came to doing something about the situation. I was really young, and I didn't know how seriously people would take a 14-year-old speaking up about something so historically taboo. I decided to remain bold; because after all, there's no other way to tackle a taboo than to be bold about it. The end goal in all of this was to stop the gender gap when it came to women and their basic sanitation rights. I wanted to make sure that no woman felt uncomfortable during her period because her situation or environment gave no access to her menstrual products.
I was so blessed to have been a part of the ANNpower Fellowship for teen girls and the Three Dot Dash summit for global teen leaders where I was linked with the founder of Prinkshop and Kate Spade. These organizations helped me form Code Red and establish its mission. So I created Code Red, an organization that not only seeks to end the harmful practices surrounding girls and women when it comes to periods, but also provides necessary basic needs to girls and women who don't have access. We give menstrual products to refugee, homeless, and displaced women in emergency settings. Whether it's a natural disaster or an emergency zone, we are always there to provide menstrual products to relief centers and shelters.
In the future I plan to work with the founder of Prinkshop and design a T-shirt line that funds money for the products sent to women in need. I also plan on doing various campaigns through different creative platforms that could put an end to the dangerous taboo surrounding periods. My main goal: stay dedicated to ending the sanitation crisis and gender gap.
One of the most important things I've learned is that if you maintain a clear vision and put your vision to action, you can do anything. There will be plenty of people along the way who see your potential and will offer to guide you. Always remember that it doesn't matter where you're coming from or what you are lacking, acknowledge the advantages and privileges you have and use them to follow your passion of making an impact!
By Ileri Jaiyeoba, 18