Local Girl Scouts Kimberlie Brunner and Susannah Berry, both 15 years old, have earned the highest award for their age group — the Silver Award — by completing work on a sustainable project that addressed a problem in both the community and around the world.
The duo has been working on their project, titled “Combating Menstruation Stigma,” since October 2019 and the girl scout council recently approved their 50-hour project.
“We just really liked the idea of helping other girls,” Brunner said.
Brunner and Berry chose to focus on menstruation stigma because they have learned that it is common for girls around the world to be discriminated against when they are on their periods — being labeled as “unclean” or having to miss school. Young girls often feel shame when asking for feminine products and girls in third-world countries typically do not have access to the feminine products they need.
“We’ve discovered that the root cause of this issue is a lack of education and a lack of supplies,” the girls wrote when describing the project. “Our project goal is to make supply kits that will be sent to girls in other countries.”
A Facebook page was set up to help get the word out about their project to help them collect donations.
Berry and Brunner were able to collect 416 bars of soap, 176 washcloths, 282 pairs of underwear and 142 drawstring bags to send to Days for Girls — an organization founded in 2008, after a visit to an orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi, that increases access to menstrual care and education.
Days for Girls will distribute the care packages assembled by the local Girl Scout duo and distribute them to girls in need.
In order to get the supplies, they created an Amazon Wishlist where others could support their project by buying the items on the wishlist. The supplies needed to build the kits were then shipped to Brunner and Berry and they got to work assembling the care packages. The girls spent much of the 50 required hours sewing the drawstring bags together to hold all of their items and make the project more sustainable.
Berry said that they set out with intentions to buy black underwear but found that it was more expensive than white underwear so they decided to maximize the number of girls they could help by dying the white underwear a darker color themselves.
“There were a lot of things I was uncomfortable doing at first but I’ve realized it’s not that bad,” Berry said.
Normally there is a Girl Scouts Silver Award ceremony but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brunner and Berry are waiting to see if there will be a virtual ceremony.
Brunner said she enjoys being a part of the Girl Scouts because it teaches her about life.
“It teaches you how to help people and think about other people’s needs. I really like that,” she said.
More information about Berry and Brunner’s Silver Award project and educational videos can be found on their Facebook page — “Kimberlie and Susannah’s Silver Award Project.”