As a young woman having to deal with their period, it’s definitely hard. Periods can be messy and overwhelming – but a quick ask to my mom or dad, and I have the products I need. These products make me feel secure so I can go to school, participate in activities or be with my friends without worry. I have given a pad or a tampon to a friend at school without thinking twice about it. I never stopped to think that some people do not have access to period products until one day…
A few years ago, in grade eight, I saw a post on social media about period poverty. It explained how there was a need for donations of feminine hygiene products all over the world and in my community. I thought, ‘so there are other girls my age that don’t have a stock of pads in the bathroom? They cannot ask their parents to run to the store to grab some?’ I thought about how that must feel. What do they do? Not go to school, have accidents? How hard that must be, embarrassing even. My friend volunteered at our local food bank, and she told me that there were only a few packages of pads left. I felt that I could do something to help, so I talked with my parents and made a plan. I could use my social media and connections at school to help others know the need is there and that we could make a change. That first year my class gathered over 20 packages in three weeks.
I thought about how that must feel. What do they do? Not go to school, have accidents? How hard that must be, embarrassing even.
Other girls would come up to me and say what I was doing was awesome! I learned that my school barely had any products in the office for emergencies and how much need there really was – at my school.
My family pitched in, my friends too, so many people in our community these last two years have taken a huge interest in Period Promise. When people drop off their donations to me, they share stories of how they have never thought of donating such items and how often people are too embarrassed to ask for them.
Being able to participate in Period Promise is awesome! It makes me feel empowered to use my voice as a young woman, advocating for others’ needs. I am not embarrassed to ask for products like I thought I might be. Even my guy friends have been donating!! I know that by doing just a small part, I can and will help other women and young girls like me feel secure and comfortable while on their periods. Every person deserves to feel good and have access to the products they need. Period products should be available for everyone, and I hope by sharing posts and gathering donations, I can help, even in a small way.
– Ruth, age 16
To learn about the Period Promise initiative, participate or make a financial contribution, visit www.periodpromiseniagara.com