Bossier teen helps provide ‘Dignity’ for African women

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Teen’s project raises money for hygiene products for Kenyan women

Imagine life without basic necessities.

What if there were times you couldn’t leave home for days. How could something as simple as a feminine hygiene product prevent a teenage girl from living a normal life?

A Bossier City teenager made it her mission to help the girls of Africa come out of hiding and continue living with dignity.

Cassidy Horton, 17, began The Dignity Project a year ago with a goal of raising $15,000 to provide personal hygiene products to thousands of girls in Africa.

She called it her “journey to provide dignity to girls in Kenya by providing access to quality feminine hygiene [products] and health education.”

“It happens worldwide to women in impoverished communities,” she states on her project website. “Girls miss up to three months of school in just one year. Girls are often exploited in exchange for hygiene [products]. Days of Dignity will help change that.”

The Dignity Project is meant to provide health education and safety opportunities in a dignified way.

Cassidy and her mother, Robyn Horton, raised money to provide such opportunities through an online store with custom t-shirts and handmade hairbands, by selling handmade items sent in from Kenya around Christmastime and an organized a 5K event at her school as part of her senior project.

“For $5, a girl can have enough products to last her a year,” Robyn said. “This is giving these girls a lifetime of freedom. It’s not a temporary fix for them. It’s a longterm change for their community.”

Cassidy said being in Africa on a mission trip last summer was an eye opening experience. To see girls her own age go through some of the hardest times because they don’t have hygiene products readily available for use was hard to comprehend.

“They finally have schools and a future ahead of them. They want to go to school, but they miss days and fall behind. Eventually they just drop out,” she said. “This is something we take for granted here. They are just like me and I want to help them.”

Their money raised was sent to Africa through The 410 Bridge, a global organization committed to the well being of communities with a long-term orientation and a focus on healthy giving.

For her efforts, Cassidy was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship through the Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program. She was chosen from more than 35,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact in her community.

Not only did Cassidy reach her goal, but she exceeded it. After successfully raising more than $18,000 through several fundraising projects, her donation was matched by a grant, enabling Cassidy to spread her project to communities outside of Kenya.

That amount of money is enough to provide more than 6,000 girls in Africa the hygiene products they need for a year.

However, her work doesn’t stop here though. Cassidy, a recent graduate of Airline High School, will be attending the University of Louisiana at Monroe this fall to pursue a degree in biology. Her goal is to attend medical school and become a doctor.

She hopes to one day do even more for the girls of Africa.

“Hard work pays off,” Cassidy said. “It doesn’t matter your age. You can make a difference with your personal gifts and abilities to make a difference. I’m so grateful that God chose to use me in this way.”

For more information on The Dignity Project or to make a purchase, visit their website at www.daysofdignity.com