January 22, 2024
During the recent Gratitude and Giving Week at HKIS, an event aimed at raising awareness about period poverty took center stage. The For Girls club, dedicated to mitigating period poverty, organized a unique and enlightening period cramp simulator event on the island to raise awareness of period poverty.
The event, spanning two days, saw enthusiastic participation from both students and teachers who do not experience menstruation. The goal was to educate and engage the entire school community in a trivia game centered around period poverty-related questions.
On the first day, November 13th, all male class officers ranging from Grade 9 to Grade 12 stepped forward to participate in the event. The engaging MC, Urvashi Kumra’26, quizzed the participants on various aspects of period poverty. The questions ranged from straightforward multiple-choice questions like, "At what age does someone typically have their first period?" to more challenging free-response questions such as, "Why are reusable period products not the 'answer' to solving period poverty?"
To mimic the experience of period cramps, the simulator's pain level started at level 3. For each question answered incorrectly, the pain increased by one notch. Harrison Chua, one of the 2024 class officers who took part, shared his experience, saying, "The pain at the beginning was manageable, but when it reached level 8, it actually hurt."
On the second day, November 14th, it was the teachers' turn to experience the discomfort. Mr. McCaughey, Mr. Zen, Mr. Kersten, and Mr. Best volunteered to be strapped to the period cramp simulators. As they faced the intensified pain, it became evident that even a brief glimpse into the physical challenges of menstruation left a profound impact.
During the event, audience members were encouraged to contribute to the cause by making donations. There will also be fundraising during this day, where students can donate money to increase a designated teacher’s pain level, and all funds will go to Plan International’s mission - uplifting the underprivileged. Plan International is an organization dedicated to advancing the youth’s rights and equality, and in their collaboration with For Girls, they focus on increasing access to reproductive health services, providing menstrual products, and eliminating harmful sanitary practices and period stigma in local communities through education and awareness.
The funds raised would be used to increase the intensity of the simulators experienced by the teachers. Notably, only anonymous donations to the faculty were counted. The response from the community was overwhelming, with a total of $5017 HKD received. One of the club leaders, Sophie Ma, exclaimed, “We actually expected even more money, but that’s pretty good overall!”
This successful event not only shed light on the issue of period poverty but also fostered empathy and understanding among the Hong Kong International School community. By simulating the pain associated with menstruation, participants gained firsthand insight into the challenges and hardships faced by individuals affected not only by period poverty but the menstrual process itself.
The event served as a reminder of the importance of supporting initiatives that aim to address period poverty and create a more inclusive and compassionate society. The HKIS community should be commended for their active participation and generous donations, which will undoubtedly make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by period poverty.
As Gratitude and Giving Week draws to a close, the impact of this period cramp simulator event will continue to resonate, fostering a culture of awareness, understanding, and empathy on period poverty within the school community.