When Celeste Mergens went on a Christian mission trip to a Kenyan orphanage in 2008, she found many of the young girls didn’t know what menstruation was.

Mergens, founder and CEO of international nonprofit organization Days for Girls International, will speak at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at 6 p.m. Thursday.  She will talk about her experience at the orphanage and how she turned her passion for helping women into positive change.


Days for Girls creates workshops and care packages of sustainable feminine-hygiene products, which include pads and panty liners. The organization sends the packages to girls in countries where feminine hygiene is stigmatized, said Shelby Taylor, digital communications director for the Bob Graham Center.

The organization’s mission is to give every woman in the world easy access to sustainable feminine-hygiene products by 2020.

“It’s important for young people, if they see an issue and know it’s not right, to take action and do something about it,” Taylor said. “That’s what (Mergens) did, and she’s made a world of difference for many girls.”

UF family, youth and community sciences junior Ginnie Lin recently did a class project about sustainable feminine hygiene.  

“When I saw that Celeste Mergens was coming, and I had just researched Days for Girls, I got so excited,” the 21-year-old said. “This is such a cool talk for everyone to know about.”

The talk is free and open to the public. SOURCE