YAP Partners with Hollins University to Support Period Poverty Initiative - Article Details

YAP Partners with Hollins University to Support Period Poverty Initiative

Harrisburg, Pa. - To bring awareness to the need for global menstrual hygiene resources, Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP™) has teamed up with Hollins University and Hollins University Black Alumnae for the Hollins Against Period Poverty Initiative (HAPPI).

YAP is a national nonprofit in 35 states and Washington, D.C. partnering with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, education, public safety, and other systems to deliver community-based services as an alternative to incarceration/residential care, and group home foster placements. YAP also supports international partner organizations in Australia, Guatemala, Ireland and Sierra Leone.

The Hollins University and Black Alumnae partnership, benefits YAP’s international sister agency Sierra Leone Youth Advocate Program (SLYAP). The social media campaign kicks off April 18 and will culminate with Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2024, an annual day observed yearly to bring awareness to menstrual health. The initiative aims to raise an understanding about period poverty through impactful education and providing menstrual supplies and financial support to women and girls in Sierra Leone.

“YAP is proud to partner with Hollins University and Hollins University Black Alumnae for the Hollins Against Period Poverty Initiative supporting our international sister organization Sierra Leone Youth Advocate Program,” said YAP CEO and President Gary Ivory. “No girl or young woman should miss school or extracurricular activities; be embarrassed or face stigma due to not having access to adequate menstrual hygiene products. All youth deserve the opportunity to learn while feeling safe and healthy."

In Sierra Leone, thousands of school-aged girls are impacted by the lack of menstrual products, water or sanitation facilities, forcing them to miss school and fall behind in their studies, according to author Harriet Mason in an article in the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). In totality, 500 million girls and women lack access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, support or affordable materials.

SLYAP works to empower, educate, and inspire children and families in Sierra Leone through community engagement projects. Period poverty is a local and global issue and YAP programs across the U.S. will be collecting products to meet local needs.

“Providing young girls with knowledge and options to dignify them during their menstrual cycle is crucial,” said SLYAP Executive Director Ajara Marie Bomah. “Escaping poverty requires knowledge, strategic partnerships, advocacy, and communication."

Hollins University Director of Global Learning Dr. Ramona Kirsch says the collaboration between SLYAP and Hollins University is important and as an historically women’s college, Hollins has a long history of advancing women’s empowerment and addressing gender, racial, and class inequities.

“In today's interconnected world, the collaboration between an institution of higher education and an international non-governmental/non-profit organization is not just advantageous; it's imperative,” Kirsch said. “Once the Hollins University Black Alumnae approached Hollins to develop a joint project with YAP, I knew that we needed to pull in Hollins Professors Lindsey Breitwieser (Gender and Women’s Studies) and Abubakarr Jalloh (Public Health) who have extensive research and teaching experience in these topics. This type of collaboration brings a synergy that bridges knowledge with action, academia with advocacy, and theory with practice, fostering a dynamic exchange that cultivates global citizenship and drives meaningful change."

Donations to SLYAP will help purchase sanitation products that will ultimately help reduce taboo conversations around menses; keep youth in schools so they don’t miss instruction and can stay on track to complete their education, in addition to community outreach initiatives.

To donate to HAPPI in Support of SLYAP click here. For more information about YAP, visit yapinc.org or follow Sierra Leone Youth Advocate Program on Facebook.


Media/Press Inquiries

Ryanne Persinger,
National Communications Director

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