On Sunday 26th May, 2019, I attended a tea party hosted by the Helping Her Foundation held at the Anchorage in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. It was a fundraising event with the main aim of ending ‘period poverty’.
What is “period poverty”?
For those of you who may not know, ‘period poverty’ refers to a woman/girl’s inability to afford to purchase sanitary products on a regular monthly basis. A woman in this unfortunate situation is compelled to improvise with whatever materials she has at hand, be it strips of old cloth, double underwear, or wadded up toilet paper.
Now, you cannot truly understand how discomfiting and embarrassing such a situation is unless you have experienced it yourself. Perhaps you may have once. Or twice. But have you had to suffer like this for every month of your menstruating life? For some poor women, this is their reality.
A woman who has no access to sanitary products like pads and tampons is automatically placed at a serious disadvantage to women who have such access. It stands to reason that such a woman may not be able to afford medication to relieve the accompanying myriad of symptoms like painful period cramps, headaches, fatigue, bloating, and irritability among others. Now, not all women experience these symptoms with their period but imagine those who do. Now couple that with having no access to sanitary products. Excuse the pun, but it’s a bloody mess.
Such a woman often has to miss days of work (if she is fortunate to have a job). Upon her return to work, she may find herself unemployed. Such a girl often has to miss several days of school. Upon her return to school, she may find herself lost in class, having to constantly catch up on several days’ worth of lessons. These are some disadvantages suffered by millions of women primarily due to a basic biological function beyond our control. And overpriced feminine hygiene products.
Many women and girls all over the world face this challenge on a monthly basis. The Helping Her Foundation is trying to tackle this issue in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Helping Her Foundation
This Non-Governmental Organisation first began in 2015 when its founder, Samantha Duncan, was stuck at home one day. She was forced to confine herself to her shower stall. Why? Because her period had arrived and to her chagrin, she had discovered that her feminine hygiene shelf was bare. Alone with nothing but her thoughts and blood streaked thighs, Samantha began to wonder how often other girls and women faced the same situation. Or even worse. What if there were women who had no access at all?
And the Helping Her Foundation was born. With the aid of her close friends and associates, Samantha set out on a mission to help as many impoverished girls and women in Trinidad and Tobago gain access to sanitary products. Last year, the Foundation raised over TT$20,000.00 from its first fundraising event. From these proceeds, the Helping Her Foundation was able to donate sanitary products on a monthly basis to the Sophia House for Girls and the St. Dominic’s Children’s Home in Trinidad.
With the assistance of sponsors like Brydens PI, the Helping Her Foundation intends to distribute more sanitary products to institutions such as secondary schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
I commend Samantha and her team at the Helping Her Foundation for spearheading such an important and highly worthwhile cause. We at Patrice Magazine fully intend to contribute to and highlight valuable initiatives like these.
The Helping Her Foundation’s second annual tea party was an enjoyable event and I am very happy that I attended. It always gladdens my heart to contribute to a good cause and I look forward to attending more fundraising events in the near future. Congratulations to the Helping Her Foundation and their sponsors on their successful event and thank you for making a positive impact on the lives of many women and children in Trinidad and Tobago.
How about you? Are you willing to help end period poverty?
If you would like to learn more about the campaign to end period poverty globally, check out these articles:
Read our previous article here: https://www.patricemagazine.com/interview-with-entrepreneur-radeyah-ali/