For Major Debbie Clark, Territorial Overseas Development Officer, the recent attention given to period poverty within New Zealand was a wake-up call.
The subject is one that many people have tended to shy away from, meaning the size of the problem goes under-reported and often unnoticed. When women cannot afford or do not have access to sanitary products or facilities, they resort to using makeshift or unsafe products, experience ostracism, and miss important growth opportunities.
‘We’ve proved that it is a real issue,’ Debbie says, ‘Women miss out on education, they miss out on work, their dignity is often at risk.’
‘I thought “if it’s an issue for us in New Zealand, how big an issue is it for those in the Pacific?”’
In response, a $30 bundle has been added to the Just Gifts catalogue. The money raised will be used to purchase proper materials to create reusable products as well as to buy disposable products for women in the Pacific Islands.
Donations can be made via credit card through the Just Gifts website, while a form with details for all other payment methods can be printed out and posted or emailed to THQ.
With the aim of advertising and normalising the subject, Debbie walked around Encounter Congress on Friday night with a jar full of tampons in colourful wrappers, playing ‘Guess how many tampons in the jar.’ She particularly hopes that younger generations, who tend to be more comfortable talking about period poverty, will get involved with the campaign.
After the success of last year’s Salvation Cycles fundraising effort, Debbie has high hopes that this project will also receive wide support from corps and centres.
Christchurch City Corps Youth are hosting a fundraiser, while Hastings Corps is taking over their local family store for a day to raise money.
‘I think this is something that our young women, even mums, playgroups, could get involved in because it’s something that’s real for them,’ says Debbie.
The $30 gift bundles can be purchased online at Just Gifts