– BY KIRSTIE MCCRUM –
Schoolgirls are skipping classes every month because they can’t afford sanitary products. This was revealed by UK charity Freedom4Girls, which provides tampons and pads to girls in Africa. However, this time it concerned a school in Leeds (UK), where teachers discovered that regular truancy among students was down to period poverty. Campaigners are now urging the British government to provide girls from low income families with free sanitary pads. In the meantime, there are already dozens, if not hundreds, of projects that help women in need. Kirstie McCrum has selected five sympathetic UK-based organisations that provide menstrual aid.
Bloody Good Period
What they say: ‘Bloody Good aims to create a sustainable flow (pun intended) of sanitary protection.’
Where: North London (UK)
What do they do: Collecting period supplies and toiletries for asylum seekers, refugees and those who can’t afford them at various asylum seeker drop ins and other UK food banks and centres.
More info: bloodygood-period.com
Every Month MCR
What they say: ‘Recent studies have found that a British woman spends on average £492 annually on menstrual products, but there are no official government-funded services in place to help those who cannot afford these products.’
Where: Manchester (UK)
What do they do: Making approximately 250 Period Packs (consisting of sanitary products and a sachet of hot chocolate) a month and distributing these packs to the women who need them.
More info: everymonthcampaign.org
No More Taboo
What they say: ‘Our aim is to set up long-standing relationships with shelters and organisations to ensure that the women who use homeless services feel comfortable talking about their periods and have good access to sanitary products.’
Where: Bristol (UK)
What do they do: Selling sustainable sanitary products and investing the profits into charitable projects that help tackle the taboos surrounding menstruation and sanitation.
More info: www.nomoretaboo.org
The Crimson Wave
What they say: ‘Government cuts mean more women than ever need our help. Accessing vital supplies is almost impossible for some women and yet the issue is rarely brought to light.’
Where: Manchester (UK)
What do they do: Working with local homeless charities and women to provide sanitary items for a dignified and comfortable time during their periods.
More info: Twitter.com/CrimsonWaveOrg
The Monthly Gift
What they say: ‘The Monthly Gift hopes that you will be reminded of the campaign every month and consider donating a Monthly Gift to help somebody through their period.’
Where: Nottingham and Manchester (UK)
What do they do: Collecting donations of sanitary products and giving them to people who are homeless or experiencing poverty. They do this through boxes, online fundraising and events.
More info: twitter.com/monthlygiftmcr
The list above is a random selection. Other awesome menstrual aid initiatives in the UK include The Homeless Period in Liverpool and Edinburgh, Tampon Talk in Lancaster, A Bloody Good Cause in Hertfordshire, Education Before Menstruation in Sutton-in-Ashfield, and the London-based OneSqin which sells organic tampons and donates 100% of their profits to projects that empower girls in need. Do you know of a similar project or organisation that we’ve missed? Tell us.
About the author
Kirstie McCrum is a Manchester-based news and features journalist. She mostly writes about social issues, feminism, art & culture, and health & wellbeing. Her writing has been featured in the New Statesman, Mirror Online, Wales Online, the Guardian and more. You can follow Kirstie on Twitter via @kirstiemccrum.
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