Period poverty is defined as the lack of access to sanitary products and hygiene facilities to manage menstruation. In many countries, like South Africa, women and girls don’t always have access to sanitary products needed, which prevents them from going to work or school.
The stigma surrounding menstruation prevents people from talking about it, and many often feel ashamed about menstruating, causing physical, mental and emotional challenges. Some use toilet paper or even rags during their menstrual cycle, and globally, an estimated 500 million people who menstruate lack access to menstrual products and hygiene facilities, Medical News Today explains.
There’s a well-known Chinese proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and this is exactly what the founder of Bridgehouse NPC in Bridgetown, has done. Along with her team, Tamsin October taken that step forward to help those in less fortunate communities by bringing a message of hope and love across to all.
“Bridgehouse NPC has been visiting various communities and raising awareness on the socio-economic challenges communities face,” she explains, a major challenge being the lack of access to sanitary products.
Her sanitary towel drive started off small, but the need became bigger. “When we visited communities, females would run for a pack [of pads] and not want to miss this opportunity. My heart… realised the need,” October recalls.
This led her to the idea of raising 2022 packs of pads this year, an initiative which made its debut on 22.02.2022. October and her team set out to schools to extend a helping hand, starting with Cypress Primary School in Bridgetown, and would ideally love to help three schools per week.
This is also a very personal mission for her as she experienced a very heavy menstrual cycle up until her surgery in 2019. Her goal is to create a safe space for young girls to have access to sanitary towels while also striving to keep these girls in school. October is hoping to add wet wipes to this as well.
But the Bridgehouse NPC extends further to also assist with distributing clothes to communities in need in Bridgetown and Heideveld thus far, especially during COVID-19 and after fires broke out in Cape Town.
“We raise awareness in our programme on dangers of fire, especially to the younger children and… the Disaster Management comes out to chat to the children,” October explains.
When asked how people can get involved in supporting this wonderful initiative in true Capetonian spirit, October said even though they try to make do with what they have, donations and sponsors are always welcome. “The need always gets bigger [and the] smallest contribution had the biggest impact”. She is also hoping to create more space in the garage she uses by gathering more resources.
If you’d like to assist Tamsin October in her endeavours to better the lives of people in Cape Town, whether it be with a pack of pads, wipes or clothing, please reach out by emailing [email protected]. Alternatively, you can visit the Bridgehouse NPC Facebook page to see the wonderful work she and her team are doing.
Picture: Bridgehouse NPC Facebook page