Haven’t heard of period poverty? Just like a lot of discussions surrounding menstruation, it’s a topic that tends to get swept under the carpet. Period poverty is what leads hundreds of girls to miss several days at school every month, as their family can not afford to buy sanitary products. This can affect their learning and limit their educational opportunities. It is also what drives many girls and women to use unhygienic or dangerous substitute items such as rags and newspaper.
Pass on your period
A Kiwi business is challenging pregnant mums to donate their new, unopened packs of sanitary pads and tampons to help Kiwi schoolgirls who are missing out on their education because of period poverty.
Franny McInnes, the Director of Cambridge-based online maternity store Breastmates, says, “I was speaking to a friend who is a teacher, and I was shocked to learn that a huge number of Kiwi girls miss school on days when they have their period, simply because they don’t have sanitary supplies. I hadn’t realised this was an issue in New Zealand, and I never thought of sanitary products as a luxury item.”
Franny says that if every pregnant mum in New Zealand passes on the menstruation supplies she won’t be using during pregnancy, it would make a significant difference to the lives of Kiwi students who can’t afford to purchase them.
Fittingly, donations are being taken from International Women’s Day (8th March) until the end of the month and will be distributed to organisations and charities already involved in getting supplies to those in need.
Making a difference
“There were 59,610 births in New Zealand in 2017,” says Franny. “If we have a similar number of births in 2018, that works out to over half a million packs of sanitary products women aren’t using during the nine months of pregnancy. Donating them to Kiwi girls in need is a small gesture that will have a big impact – not only will our girls have access to the supplies they need, it will also enable them to attend school during their periods with dignity and confidence.”
“Apart from designing maternity clothing and running my ecommerce site, I’m very happy to put my time and my staff into this campaign. And it helps that I’ve got my warehouse and distribution channels, which will make it easier than if I was trying to do this on my own.
“I also encourage people to donate money to charities that distribute sanitary products to schoolgirls, such as The Foodbank Project through The Salvation Army, and SPINZs (Sanitary Products in New Zealand Schools).”
Franny is also hopeful that our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, will donate the sanitary products she hasn’t used during her own pregnancy to the project.
How you can get involved
Breastmates are collecting new, unused, unopened packs of sanitary pads and tampons from 8th to 31st March. These will be passed on to charities to distribute to young women in need. Products can be posted to:
Pass On Your Period
PO Box 830
You don’t have to be pregnant to donate.
Alternatively, you can donate to any of the following organisations around New Zealand who are working to collect and distribute sanitary supplies to young women in need, either through donation or a Buy One Give One system:
* The Salvation Army Foodbank Project (Women’s hygiene bundle)
* Go With The Flow (Wellington)
* Feel Good Period (Auckland)
* KidsCan (Health for Kids)
* Shine (Auckland)
* MyCup (Donate a cup)
* Lumii (Donate a cup – Auckland)
* Oi (Buy one give one)
* Dignity (Buy one give one for businesses)
* United Sustainable Sisters (Auckland)