RBHS Sophomores Shruti Gautam and Olivia DeClue organize the first annual Menstrual Hygiene Day walk in Columbia on May 19th, . It was at Cosmo Park in northern Columbia. Both leaders agreed that the walk was successful, raising more than $900 for BeArtsy’s Rato Baltin Project that benefits underprivileged women in Nepal.
When attendees, approximately 50 with 25 from RBHS, went to Harris Shelter, where the walk began, student volunteers greeted, took donations and sold refreshments.
Set to start at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, at about 2:45 the walk began. Those who chose to run the three mile course started first, while the walkers began shortly after, finishing the around 4 p.m.
“I thought the walk was really fun,” sophomore Maggie Wolf said. “I am definitely going to come again.”
A few months ago, after stumbling upon an article about the mistreatment of menstruating girls in Nepal, DeClue and Gautam set out to make change. The girls then discovered the Rato Baltin Project, which provides menstrual cups to woman who are forced into chhaupadi, a tradition that forces women to live in small dirty huts while on their period.
These huts are hot, dirty and put these girls at risk of suffocation and rape. This tradition originates from the idea that menstruation causes women to be temporarily impure, and that a god created menstruation as a means to distribute a curse to men, according to a February article from the New York Times.
The attention to this issue has been distributed to businesses in Columbia, as well. Kona Ice provided the participants with one of their trucks; 20 percent of the money attendees spent at the truck was given back to the Rato Balin Project, further increasing the money given to the cause.
“I thought Kona Ice was a nice touch,” freshman Taylor Geneux, said. “It made all of us happy to see that truck after walking for two hours.”