Enactus members impact lives of young women in Peru
Professor Maribel Morales, Enactus advisor and provost, led a 2022 J-Term trip with Professor Jeffrey Roberg to Peru where Carthage students distributed Enactus Days For Girls reusable feminine hygiene kits to young women from the Huilloc community.
Enactus is a global entrepreneurial collegiate organization that works to achieve the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals through impactful projects created and ran by students across over 1,700 college campuses.
Carthage Enactus is currently working on three main projects, one of which is Days for Girls. This is a project with global reach that creates and distributes reusable feminine hygiene kits to women in the developing world as a means of providing them with a sense of dignity while working to close the education gap between young boys and girls. Proper menstrual health management is a human right and a critical component of gender equity. It is also vital for women to reach their full potential. This project is led by our project leader Mara Lysne ’25 and junior project leader Savannah Kneemueller ’25 as well as a hardworking committee of Carthage students.
Carthage Enactus has established a partnership with a sister organization called Threads of Hope that operates out of Richfield, Wis. This past fall, the leaders of Threads of Hope came to Carthage to teach Enactus members the steps and techniques to make their newly improved and redesigned kits, as well as to train us in serging sewing. Each kit includes a decorative opaque fabric bag, two shields, eight pads, two gallon-sized bags, two pairs of underwear, a washcloth, and a hotel-sized bar of soap. For the J-Term study tour, The Role of Tourism and Its Effect on Women and the Environment, led by Prof. Morales and Prof. Roberg, Threads of Hope donated 85 kits for the Huilloc community in Cusco.
As a part of the J-Term experience, Carthage students spent a day with the Huilloc community to learn about their culture, which is as old as the Incas. The community members live in a small village hidden in the heights of the Andes in the Sacred Valley, where they continue to live like their ancestors. Here, the Quechua way of life is still alive and thriving. On behalf of Enactus, Prof. Morales and all the female students gathered with the women and young girls of Huilloc to give them the kits and talk about menstrual health education. We believe that providing them with these reusable pads advances menstrual health, dignity, and opportunity for all. Prof. Morales communicated how to use the kits to a translator in Spanish who then gave instructions to the female leader in Quechua and young girls who were also listening. They were very thankful for these donations and expressed how useful these kits will be for the young girls.
“While other children smiled brightly and scrambled for the dolls, trucks, and soccer balls we brought, these girls were ecstatic and extremely attentive when we presented them with the colorful period supply packs,” said Serena Richardson ’24. “Although some were shy, you could tell by their pure reactions of joy and excitement how impactful these donations will be in their lives in destigmatizing periods.”
Enactus members are continuing to learn how to make these kits. This spring, the leaders of Threads of Hope will come to Carthage to offer more workshops. Soon, Enactus will be able to assemble the kits themselves and donate them to local shelters and hand them out during future J-Term study tours.
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