2017 National Young Women of Distinction - Devika K.
Every year, ten exceptionally inspiring Gold Award Girl Scouts are chosen as National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD). This honor is given to Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. This year, Girl Scouts of Central Texas is proud to claim one NYWOD as our own, Devika K.
While visiting her father’s home country, Devika discovered that 23 percent of girls in rural areas of India quit school because of the lack of information and resources to support menstruation. Almost immediately, she was compelled to take action.
Devika raised funds in her local community to purchase sanitary pad machines from a local Indian engineer, which she then took to remote villages in Rajasthan. These machines grind cotton, press the cotton into pads, and disinfect the pads. This solved the issue of proper materials for the women and girls, but for Devika that was not enough, so she taught the women villagers how to operate the machine and create a business from selling the sanitary pads.
Additionally, Devika visited surrounding villages, where she conducted mini-workshops on a topic that is taboo and one which girls are not encouraged to learn about. She showed educational videos on menstruation and menstrual hygiene, answered questions, and discussed how the machine works. So not only did she provide these women with critical information and a safe space to discuss menstrual hygiene, she also made sure to provide them with a way to make a small income to sustain their lives. Talk about taking steps to create real, sustainable change!
"...not only did she provide these women with critical information and a safe space to discuss menstrual hygiene, she also made sure to provide them with a way to make a small income to sustain their lives."
“Girl Scouts has brought me into this network of girls who are really looking to empower each other through leadership. I will always remember campouts and selling cookies, but more so all of those great journeys we had, volunteering at food banks and pet shelters. Just the difference we made together is something I’ll cherish for a long time, because we were so young. In fourth grade I didn't understand what kind of impact I was making, but now looking back I am able to see that my journey of service started a long time ago, and Girl Scouting made that possible for me.”
Congratulations Devika! You are an example of a true G.I.R.L. and an inspiration to us all.
Every year, Girl Scout’s national organization (GSUSA) recognizes ten girls as inspiring leaders who have transformed an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels.This year, Austin Girl Scout, Devika Kumar has been selected to be named a GSUSA National Young Woman of Distinction, due to her demonstration of extraordinary leadership in addressing a globally impactful issue.