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The Young Activists Guide to Making Change

In this animated short, middle school students and a TFA alumna describe how they successfully rallied to provide free access to menstrual products in schools across Hawai‘i.

The Young Activists Guide to Making Change

In this animated short, middle school students and a TFA alumna describe how they successfully rallied to provide free access to menstrual products in schools across Hawai‘i.

September 2, 2022
A photograph of Faviola Leyva

Faviola Leyva

Video Producer

Leah Nichols headshot

Leah Nichols

Animator

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz headshot

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz

Managing Director, Film + Video Projects

After three years of hard work, student activists from ‘Ilima Intermediate School are celebrating a major success that affects thousands of people.

Starting fall 2022, public schools across Hawai‘i are required to provide free menstrual products, in part because of this group of students’ mission to end period poverty in schools. 

In 2019, when a peer bled through their pants while menstruating, students from the school’s Rainbow Royales Gender Alliance Club and the Activist Club, began their research on period poverty—the limited or inadequate access to menstrual products or menstrual health education coupled with the negative stigma around menstruation. After learning that other states had passed laws to make menstrual products free in schools, the students and teacher Sarah "Mili" Milianta-Laffin (Houston ’06), began a three-year journey to create a similar change in Hawai‘i. 

Although students cycled out of the clubs annually to move on to high school, each new cohort learned how to successfully navigate the legislative process in their home state. They also partnered with state representatives and local organizations like the Ma‘i Movement to bring awareness to the issue, normalize talking about menstruation, and advance legislative efforts to end period poverty in Hawaii‘s schools.

In this animated short film, hear from young activists Riez and Alana—who championed this cause along with fellow club members—as they share their story and advice for would-be change-makers. 

Learn more about period poverty

  • Join the movement for period equity (PERIOD.): 
  • Read how you can make fundamental change in your school (Learning For Justice)  
  • Learn about Hawai‘i grassroots efforts to raise awareness about period poverty (Ma‘i Movement
  • Build a menstruation station at your school (Edutopia)

This film is the third in an animated series from One Day Studio that illustrates stories from and about youth working to change their world. From a college student helping her Lakota language thrive, to a high school student’s vision for how ancestral knowledge can guide Hawai‘i’s sustainable farming practices, these films explore Gen Z thought leaders who are using the lens of their culture to shape more equitable and inclusive futures.

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