Period poverty refers to a situation when you don’t have a safe way to manage your period. This can prevent you from participating in essential daily activities – like going to school and work.
Whilst many believe that period poverty only exists in developing countries, the harsh reality is that period poverty exists in nearly every country on earth – no matter how “developed” or “developing”. Here in the UK, a survey by Plan International found that 1 in 10 people cannot afford sanitary products.
Through Asan’s work fighting period poverty and promoting menstrual health education, we have come across some exceptional NGOs working on menstruation in the UK and responding to the impacts of period poverty – both within the UK and globally.
Below are some wonderful examples of charities fighting period poverty.
#1 Menstrual Cup Coalition
Area of work: Distributing and promoting the use of menstrual cups.
The Menstrual Cup Coalition believes that insertable menstrual cups are the future of safe and sustainable menstruation. They work by sharing knowledge of safe menstrual cup practices and success stories from around the world.
They believe that with accurate understanding of menstrual cup usage, effective training and regular follow-ups, this can successfully increase menstrual cup usage globally, something that we at Asan strongly align with while donating menstrual cups in rural India.
The members of the Menstrual Cup Coalition have successfully been able to distribute cups in 28 developing countries and actively continue to work to eradicate period poverty.
#2 Bloody Good Period
Area of work: Distributing free menstrual products and conducting educational campaigns.
Started by Gabby Jahanshahi-Edlin, Bloody Good Periods’ vision is to achieve menstrual equity by supplying high-quality period products to those who can’t afford them due to economic instability.
BGP have collaborated with over 100 partners across England and Wales to provide menstrual products to refugees, asylum-seekers and homeless communities. During the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, they distributed more than 100,000 menstrual products to address period poverty in the UK.
We are inspired by how vocal and bold their approach has been, whether it is related to product delivery, education programmes or their campaigns to normalise periods!
Image taken from Bloody Good Period Instagram.
#3 Free Periods
Area of work: Providing free period products across schools and colleges.
Location: England Website: https://www.freeperiods.org/
Founded by Amika George in 2000, Free Periods is a trailblazing campaign group ensuring that no young person misses out on education due to lack of access to menstrual products.
Through their powerful joint legal campaign with the Red Box Project in 2019 the government started funding the period products in every single government school and college in England.
We love how passionately they work towards breaking taboos around menstrual hygiene in public spaces and at a policy level, making it one of the best period poverty charities in the UK.
#4 Binti Period
Area of work: Menstrual health education and providing access to period products.
Location: UK, projects in India, Kenya, Gambi and the USA
Founded by Manjit K Gill MBE, Binti is a cutting-edge NGO that works with youth to facilitate menstrual health workshops to normalise periods and break negative perspectives around menstruation.
Their focus of work is making menstrual pads accessible to girls and women who cannot afford them and actively train women to make their own pads.
Headquartered in the UK, they have their projects running in the UK, India, Kenya, Gambi and the USA. Through their educational and training programmes, they are creating awareness about menstruation and empowering youth globally.
Image taken from https://bintiperiod.org
Area of work: Conducting menstrual health training programmes and providing menstrual products.
Location: UK is their primary focus area, with some projects in East Africa - predominantly in Kenya and Uganda.
Founded by Tina Leslie, Freedom4Girls is a UK charity that is combating period poverty. They manufacture their own washable reusable pads, donate period products and provide menstrual health education to challenge menstrual taboos through educational programmes.
In May 2020, they expanded their work from educational sessions to product distribution and are actively eradicating period poverty by reaching over 10,000 young people through their partners in Uganda and Kenya.
#6 Hey Girls
Area of work: Manufacturing a range of period products and distributing them through a ‘buy one, donate one’ model.
Location: UK-wide with teams in Scotland and Norfolk
Hey Girls is an award winning social enterprise which was founded in 2018 by Celia Hodson and her daughters Kate and Becky out of their experience with period poverty.
They have developed a range of menstrual products such as period panties, reusable pads, organic pads and menstrual cups - which are all made using natural materials such as organic cotton and bamboo.
Since its formulation, Hey Girls has partnered with 150 community groups and donated over 14.9 million period products to communities across the UK through their ‘buy-one, donate-one’ model.
Image taken from https://www.heygirls.co.uk/