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Ending period poverty one donation at a time

Rochelle Courtenay

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Ending period poverty one donation at a time

This March a significant fundraising drive is making a world of difference to women across Australia who do not have adequate access to sanitary items.

Share the Dignity is a Queensland charity built on the foundation that no women should go without necessary period items. It is the culmination of the dedication of Brisbane woman Rochelle Courtenay. After learning of the hardships of women facing homelessness during their cycles, she began collecting sanitary items in her community and distributing them to local shelters in March 2015.

Today Share the Dignity has more than 6000 volunteers Australia wide and provides multiple initiatives aimed at ending period poverty.

As part of its bi-annual campaign and to encourage Australians to consider what it might be like to experience period poverty, this year’s Dignity Drive aims to create conversations around the tough choices some people must make.

“We know that when people are struggling financially, pads and tampons are often the first to be taken off the shopping list,” Ms Courtenay says.

“We’ve heard so many stories of mothers who have chosen to go without so that they can buy pads for their daughter, or university students having to choose between filling up their car or buying tampons.

“Menstruation is not a choice, and no one should have to choose between buying food or other essentials, and products to manage their period with dignity.”

Since 2019 Woolworths has been donating five cents from the sale of every period product during the months of March and August to fund dignity vending machines across the country. The machines dispense free packs of pads and tampons.

Sunshine Coast residents can support the campaign by buying and then placing sanitary items in donation boxes at Woolworths stores across the region, as well as at Fernwood Noosa and Star Discount pharmacies.

For more information on Share the Dignity and ending period poverty, visit sharethedignity.org.au.

 

Fast Facts

  • Since 2015 the Dignity Drives have collected more than 3.3 million sanitary products and donated them to women and girls in period poverty.
  • More than 10,000 reusable sanitary items have been donated.
  • The volunteer-run charity has more than 6000 passionate volunteers from across the country.
  • 282 Dignity vending machines have been installed across Australia, providing free period packs.

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