Getting your period is tough enough. Imagine, then, having to ride out “that time of the month” with no roof over your head, little opportunity to shower or bathe and no access to the sanitary products you need. For almost 55,000 Australian women, this is a daily reality.
On any given night in Australia, one in 200 people are homeless. 44% of these people are homeless, and 27% are children under the age of 18.
You can make a real, on-the-ground difference to the lives of women and girls experiencing homelessness and poverty by getting behind the national charity organisation, Share the Dignity.
Every April and August, Share the Dignity hold ‘Dignity Drives’ – opportunities for local community members to collect sanitary items for women and girls in crisis. The premise is simple: purchase new, unopened packets of sanitary items (pads, tampons, menstrual cups, incontinence aids, etc.) and drop them off at the dedicated collection points all over the country.
Share the Dignity founder Rochelle Courtenay says that, through these bi-annual drives, her organisation helps to alleviate the undignified situations of thousands of women across the country in a small yet tangible way.
“When women and girls cannot have access to the essential feminine products, they are forced to become extremely resourceful,” says Rochelle. “They’re using wadded up newspaper or toilet paper, or even socks. This should not be happening.”
Last year, Share the Dignity distributed over 400,000 sanitary items and, with the number of Australians experiencing poverty and homelessness constantly climbing, the demand for such a service will be even higher this year.
“So many women, every month, have to forfeit sanitary products because they cannot afford them,” says Rochelle. “Many mothers have to choose between buying tampons and feeding their children. Girls miss out on school simply because families cannot afford to buy the basic necessities.”
Thousands of pink collection boxes will be scattered across Australia, ready and waiting for you to donate sanitary products to the cause. You can find them at www.sharethedignity.com.au.