What started out as a quarantine project for college students Alexa Mohsenzadeh and Jenica Baron has evolved into the formation of their non-profit, Her Drive.
The organization is fighting back against period poverty, a worldwide issue that prevents women from obtaining menstrual products. Her Drive collects items for women’s shelters, indigenous reservations, Black-owned businesses, and refugee support programs. Since August 2020, over 165,000 period products, 11,000 bras, and 100,000 general hygiene items have been collected and distributed.
Last spring, Baron had taken up sewing as a hobby during the pandemic. When she came up with the idea of sewing bras and donating them, naturally she turned toward Mohsenzadeh, as the pair have been best friends since the sixth grade. Mohsenzadeh does not share the sewing ability, but she is equally as passionate about women’s rights, so hosting a local collection drive in Chicago was their initial goal.
“It’s a really difficult issue for people that don’t have access [to menstrual products]. Because there was such a mobilized effort to collect PPE, we figured it was also a good time to launch something like this, because period poverty is very similar to hygiene poverty and the lack of masks, but it’s more long term.”Alexa Mohsenzadeh
When the two posted a promotional video to TikTok last July, to publicize the Chicago drive, the clip unexpectedly went viral.
After the video collected over 300,000 views and 90,000 likes, the duo decided to take their local efforts nationwide.
“We didn’t plan for the social media success we’ve had. There’s been a lot of rolling with the punches and getting really excited with how things have played out.”Jenica Baron
The morning after the TikTok video went viral, Baron and Mohsenzadeh woke up to hundreds of messages from people who wanted to help.
Utilizing their platform, Her Drive has now expanded to having hundreds of volunteers and international donors, creating a “Host Your Own Drive’ initiative in October. Over 400 drives have been held in over 40 states and Canada, and they have plans to host a drive in the United Kingdom.
Mohsenzadeh is a pre-law student at Emory University and Baron is a public health major at Tulane University. In addition to being full-time college students, the ambitious young women devote 15-20 hours a week to running Her Drive, but as explained by Mohsenzadeh, “I’m so invested and enjoy interacting with the volunteers so much that it just doesn’t really feel like work.”