Cherokee Nation helps girls, women with hygiene care kits
Treasurer Lacey Horn, right, packs care kits containing hygienic products for girls and women who struggle to afford those products during their menstrual cycles. The kits were distributed in March to all eight Cherokee Nation health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital. COURTESY
The care kits contain a tote bag, five reusable hannahpads, a brush/mirror set, nail kit and wet bag. The tote bag, nail kit, and brush/mirror set are printed with the Cherokee syllabary “anigeya sinvda unehvi,” which translates to “that time of the month.” LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
One of four drawings by Cherokee artist Keli Gonzales of a “Cherokee Super Girl” accompany the care kits as a way to promote the program and encourage young girls and women to ask for the kits. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – After learning about girls and women missing school and work because of their inability to access or afford necessary supplies during their menstrual cycles, Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn and women from various tribal departments created “We Care About Our Girls, Period!” to distribute eco-friendly hygienic care kits to females in need.
Funded by the CN and partnering with hannahpad USA, a company that creates washable and reusable cloth pads, the program in March distributed 5,000 eco-friendly hygienic care kits to all eight CN health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital.
Horn said this program is intended to promote confidence in girls and women during their periods.
According to research, the average cost of living with a period can cost as much as $18,000 during a lifetime and be prohibitive for girls and women in rural and impoverished Oklahoma who go without products and miss school or work while on their periods or attempt to use unhygienic products such as toilet paper to get by.
The care kits contain self-care products such as a nail kit, brush/mirror set, wet bag, five reusable feminine hygiene pads from hannahpad USA, and an informational pamphlet.
Horn said hannahpad USA products are made from absorbent organic cotton that with proper care can last from five to 10 years.
“When we first went down the road of looking for a reusable product, we got online and we purchased several different types. We had some tester girls, some daughters of employees that were our pioneers that gave us real honest feedback on what they liked, what they didn’t like. They helped us make the selections on the sizes we should put in the kits, etc.,” she said.
Upon receiving a kit, girls and women are encouraged to take a survey after using the products by following the link www.bit.ly/CNperiodproject provided in the pamphlet.
Horn said the survey is the foundation to help provide grant opportunities to keep the program going.
Art by Cherokee artist Keli Gonzales, who created “Cherokee Super Girls” drawings to help create interest in young females about the kits, accompanies the care kits. The artwork is displayed in the tribe’s eight health centers and Hastings Hospital women’s clinic, where the kits can be requested.
“This program is intended to help girls and women feel confident and prepared as they go about their daily lives. It is my hope that recipients of these kits feel empowered and educated about their periods. We want our girls and women to feel strong like the ‘Cherokee Supergirls’ they are,” Horn said.