“Period poverty” is what stops 1 in 5 girls around the world from attending school, says Kavita Kar. Increasing access to period products in her greater community, the 17-year-old Marietta, Georgia student is creating a more equitable world through volunteerism.
Launching Red to Green in 2020, Kavita has connected with a couple hundred women and girls in nearby Clarkston, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb home to thousands of refugees. Providing period products to women in need, Kavita, a rising high school senior, is volunteering to help more women participate in daily life and society.
What inspires you to volunteer?
For the past year, I’ve worked at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as an English as a Second Language teacher, and many program participants are refugee women. They manage so much, between jobs, children and being new to America. Their everyday resilience is what inspires me to volunteer.
Describe your volunteerism with Red to Green.
As founder, I fundraise, organize distribution and logistics, and work with community partners including IRC, Global Village Project and the Clarkston Food Pantry. We offer refugee girls and women a free month’s supply of pads. Most recently, I’ve worked with IRC to develop educational classes and resources for the populations we serve. Access to period products is a human right, and we are working to sustain that right.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
Our population faces many challenges, and people manage to make do with what they have, even using toilet paper. We serve girls at Global Village who are first-time global refugee learners, and these are a set of challenges they should not be faced with. They deserve to be able to seek an education without a barrier like period products stopping them. Through volunteerism, I feel like I am a part of seeking justice for these girls and women.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Giving back meets a lot of people who have challenges halfway. Volunteering is the least we can do to create a welcoming and safe environment for everyone.
What’s in the future for your volunteerism?
This need existed long before the pandemic, but the pandemic has made many things more difficult, including access to period products. I will continue this volunteerism for as long as it’s needed, until the 1 in 5 girls who don’t attend school due to lack of access to period products statistic is eliminated.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
It’s really easy to start small. If there’s a specific problem someone has identified, pursuing that problem and working to make a difference can be really meaningful.
In one word, what does volunteering mean to you?
When you’re not busy with school or volunteering, what do you do for fun?
I love to read books and stories by immigrant communities throughout the world.
How can readers help?
We rely on donations to support Red to Green’s direct pad distribution service. Please visit our website for more information about how you can help.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Kavita Kar? Find local volunteer opportunities.