How Students
Change HKIS:
A 'For Girls' Story
by Annicka Sen
MARCH 21, 2023 - 3 MIN READ
An interview with the For Girls leaders and members on how they got period products to HKIS bathrooms
The For Girls Club, established in 2021 by Yoonjung Choi '23, recently installed period products in women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms at the HKIS High School campus. This initiative has been met with praise from students across all grades.

The For Girls Club was once Yoonjung’s personal project back in her freshman year, through which she hoped to fundraise money to help those in poverty with obtaining sanitary and high-quality period products. In 2021, she decided to expand this into a club, currently led by herself, Lauren Chong '23, Kate Nielsen '23 and Celeste Belin '24.

Prior to this initiative, the For Girls club also did fundraising by selling Cambodian peppers on their website and participating in events at HKIS like the Pumpkin Festival.

Through these efforts, the club was able to develop a relationship with the Cambodian consulate in Hong Kong and multiple corporations, leading to participation in the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Fair. The club also raises awareness towards period poverty through social media.

A period product drive previously organized by the club
According to Carolina Wen '23, a longtime member of the club, placing period products in the High School and Middle School campuses is the answer to a well-known issue, not only at HKIS but also at other campuses worldwide. By going to the nurse’s office (prior to the initiative, this was one of the few places you could access period products), students lost learning time which could affect their studies. And to add to that, they had to experience the awkwardness that comes from explaining what happened to your teacher. “You have to go, come back–I think everyone has a story like that,” she adds. The leaders of the club had their own reasons why this initiative will be beneficial. For Lauren, it alleviates the anxiety that comes with realizing that you don’t have period products on hand and having to ask around. For Kate, the initiative saves the nurse’s time so that they could focus on other matters, and to Yoonjung, it promotes a culture of inclusion and accommodation.

The initiative also received a lot of support from the HKIS community. Prior to presenting the issue to the school’s administration, the club presented it to Amy Smith (High School health teacher) and Theresa Lovelin (former High School nurse). With their guidance, the club later presented the issue to David Lovelin (High School Principal) and the school’s schoolwide administration. Celeste adds that they also received support from Kevin McCaughey, the club’s faculty advisor.

Yoonjung firmly believes this isn’t the entire list of teachers who will help the initiative. “Since we’re just starting, we haven’t reached out to a whole lot of teachers yet because we weren’t sure if the initiative would pass, but now since we know it’s going to happen, we’ll  reach out a lot more to get support.”

Pad and tampon dispensers are now on campus!
The products will be provided by LÜUNA Naturals, an organization the club contacted in the spring of 2022. To raise awareness of the initiative, the club created a video shown  during homeroom sessions (Pastoral Care Groups). Kate and Yoonjung cautioned against taking more than you need and not considering that others might need them too. “That’s the one thing we agreed on, that these pads were emergency supplies and you can’t just take them out and use them for your entire cycle.”

For their future as a club, Celeste (the group’s only leader not graduating this year) discussed the club’s annual campaign that occurs on Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28 where they’ve held period product drives. They also plan to host Dragon Day sessions, promote the cause on social media, and collaborate with Run Hong Kong. Through all this, the members hope to work towards a community that is accepting and accommodating, starting with this huge change for health and wellbeing at HKIS.