In many impoverished countries young women often utilize leaves, newspapers, bits of mattress stuffing or even mud as a form of protection while enduring their menstrual cycle, according to Project Humanity. Stigmas and labels associated with menstruation and the lack of proper hygiene resources lead young girls to either dropping out of school or missing one to four days of school per month.
Enter the Secret Red Project. Sponsored by a group of Appalachian State University students, this project aims to bring awareness about of menstrual hygiene being a concern for young women in underprivileged areas and their need of the proper feminine products.
“My plan is to empower others and motivate them to understand the importance of why proper menstrual hygiene is essential for optimal women’s health,” said Sarah Eubanks, the ASU student who conceived of the Secret Red Project. “We chose to partner with the YWCA in Greensboro because they serve underprivileged young women in Guilford County through programs designed to address health issues among others. The Secret Red Project is collecting feminine products for distribution among these young women. Not only will this project positively affect young women in Guilford County but we hope, expand and aid young women in neighboring counties.”
Ms. Eubanks is president and founder of Melanin in Medicine, a campus organization designed to empower, enlighten, and encourage women of color working to pursue careers within the field of medicine. The organization is comprised of an executive board and some 20 freshmen, sophomore, juniors, and senior ASU students who are majoring in science degree programs to work toward becoming health professionals. Ms. Eubanks is an African American honors student majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor concentration in Chemistry.
The Secret Red Project was launched within the organization as part of Ms. Eubanks’ aspiration to pursue a career as an obstetrician gynecologist.
“My life-long dream is to aid in minimizing female reproductive system disorders and augment effective treatments for gynecological problems especially among disadvantaged African American women.”
Christina Dobson, director of the YWCA Greensboro Teen Parent Mentor Programs, expressed her gratitude for the Secret Red Project and the students collecting the products. “Our young women will benefit from the generosity of other young women. It’s a great way to raise awareness about good hygiene practices and how to serve one’s community.”