Africa Education Gender Health Institute Institute 2014 Metrics & Evaluation Talk Wellness

An Ingenious Way to Help Girls Stay in School

On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado,  for the culmination of the 2014 Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 11 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Here, in on of those talks, Unreasonable Institute fellow Rachel Starkey, CEO of Transformation Textiles, explains how her startup is using textile remnants to make low-cost underwear and menstrual pads to help keep girls in Sub-Saharan Africa in school. Access to these items can boost girls’ classroom attendance by 75 percent in some places.

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  • Glassborow

    I think this is a really powerful video, it’s awful to think even to this day people can still not get basic necessities, and to think this has such a knock on effect for girls and their education is pretty depressing. I hope this video becomes more viral and something more can be done – just making a small amount of essentials for girls in Kenya increased school attendance by 75%! Great video, thank you

  • Alex Prailes

    I think this is an awesome way to open peoples eyes on how others live their lives. Previously before this video I had no idea that this was an issue that girls had. It’s mind blowing that we could improve school attendance by 75% for something as small as this. I think this is something that not a lot of people know about, but I think that if it was brought to peoples attention it would be something many people would help support.

  • ReneeBinder

    This is an awesome video. I think people take so much for granted in society and this video really makes me realize how lucky I am. In my health class we also watched a ted talk about a gentleman who created something similar. It is amazing what an impact it can have.

  • SitaSantos

    I was really motivated by watching this video on Rachel Starkey’s garment company’s initiative to use her textile scraps to produce “underwear and menstrual pads to help keep girls in Sub-Saharan Africa in school.” She went on to explain how access to these items can boost girls’ classroom attendance by 75 percent in some places!” This initiative is sparking an idea in me to continue working with the scraps from my mother’s clothing factory in Bali Indonesia to create even more useful products. In 2012, during my gap year, I visited Bali for around one month and designed reusable bags and pencil cases made from the textile remnants of her factory to be used instead of plastic bags, which are causing a huge pollution problem on the island. The proceeds then supported the construction of a recycling and compost facility for the factory’s waste, which was built using sustainable bamboo and a recycled plastic roof tiling.

  • rewebster3

    I will always be in awe at how the most basic of needs that we take for granted in the United States is not a given in other countries; the statistics associated with not having clean undergarments to wear correlated with finishing school was jaw dropping. It makes me think more basic in regard to the needs of another country versus what I have and have had each and every day and wondering how and if I can make a difference in someone’s life.