Our Trustees. Linda, Ruth, Sue, Crissy and Rose.
I decided to start Period Power after initially trying to help Foodbanks locally but soon came to realise that the demand for help with supplies of sanitary products was so great that I needed the help of others.
I now have my “others” in the form of four very determined and strong women all of whom have the same attitude to injustice in our society and who are all as determined as I am in fighting these injustices.
I see the effect that austerity has had on many people across our City, I see the hardship and the impact on family life.
Visiting one of our local foodbanks I asked whether sanitary products were asked for, available and accessible. I was told that they were rarely asked for or available. I asked that the next Tesco foodbank drive requested them… we were inundated by help; I also put a call out on social media and was overwhelmed by the generosity of our residents.
We have seen a need and are determined to address it. We will raise awareness of and reduce period poverty.
I remember times as a young girl when I had no money to get sanitary towels when I was on my period. It was a horrible time and I felt ashamed both of being poor and being a girl. I couldn’t ask my mum for money because I knew she didn’t have any to spare. For entire days I would feel scutty and dirty. I didn’t want to go to school because I might bleed out and when you would go to the toilet loads of times there’d be no toilet paper or if there was it was the horrible tracing paper stuff that was useless! I never wanted my girls to experience the kind of shame I did or to hate their bodies which at times like that seem to conspire against you.
For the first time in my life, periods are being talked about openly by women and some men. Finally we are able to talk about something that half the population has experience of, but has done so in silence.
This means that women and girls can be better educated and prepared to deal with their periods, enabling long held misconceptions to be broken down.
My periods started while I was at primary school, I remember being scared that my class mates would find out, or that my period would start while I was at school….. how would I cope with that? There were times when I was too embarrassed to ask a teacher for help and so used toilet paper in my knickers.
Period Power delivers to primary and secondary schools as well as so many other places. This gives opportunities to engage young people, to empower them to share their experiences and to understand their own bodies.
In the 21st century – girls and women not being able to afford or have access to sanitary products? That’s the choice facing some of our most vulnerable girls and women today.
Degrading, embarrassing, desperate, loss of dignity, feeling ashamed, dirty – unclean.
Degrading and embarrassing – particularly for girls at school who can’t ask or talk about being on their periods.
Desperate – buying food versus sanitary towels.
Loss of dignity – soiled clothes covered in blood.
Feeling dirty – especially when you have no access to washing facilities.
These feelings are real for girls and women who live on the streets.
For women who have to choose whether to feed their kids or buy sanitary towels.
For girl’s at school from low income families where there just isn’t enough spare cash.
Sanitary protection isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity.
Women have no choice around menstruating and that’s why I feel passionate that period poverty has to end and will do everything we can as a group to help to alleviate the problem and raise the issue where possible to help to eradicate it.
We are incredibly lucky and proud to have the following women who volunteer for us, without their support we would struggle to deliver sanitary products as widely as we do. We offer our thanks to them.