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Hundreds of menstrual products donated ahead of International Women’s Day

A Cardiff initiative taking a stand against period poverty collected hundreds of menstruation products for local causes.

Volunteers work on a Periods in Poverty Banner.

Two volunteers work on an eye-catching banner to encourage people to donate sanitary products. Credit: Periods in Poverty

Cardiff University students are tackling period poverty by distributing menstruation products to people in need.

The Cardiff student-led initiative, Periods in Poverty, collected tampons and sanitary towels to distribute to local charities which support disadvantaged people in the city.

Periods cost the average Brit nearly £500 a year. According to Plan International UK, one in seven young women struggle to afford menstruation products, whilst one in five use less suitable alternatives due the cost.*

Members of Periods in Poverty at the Cathays campus menstrual product donation point.

Members of Periods in Poverty with the Cathays campus donation point in the Student’s Union. Credit: Periods in Poverty

“It didn’t really click [before joining Periods in Poverty] how important it was for young girls to feel safe and secure,” said Hannah van Wyk, Lead Volunteer of the Cardiff initiative. “Sometimes, if they don’t have the money to get tampons, then they can’t actually get into school and if the school can’t provide that for them then the poverty circle just keeps on going.”

Many homeless or disadvantaged individuals rely on donated sanitary products. In this most recent collection alone, Periods in Poverty received 142 boxes of towels and 33 boxes of tampons, as well as 70 individual towels and 218 individual tampons to distribute.

Donation points for menstruation products are located around university campuses and soon in the city centre.

Sanitary products are collected from dedicated donation points across Cardiff University campus, which the volunteers fundraised to install.

The organisation was founded by Fiona Munnelly towards the end of 2016, but launched this academic year with a team of 10 committed volunteers and dedicated donation bins.

“She wants to makes sure that school children have access [to menstruation products], those in need have access, so everyone who needs it essentially,” said van Wyk. “We want to have gender equality and period awareness…that’s the hope and dream.”

Founder, Fiona Munnelly and Lead Volunteer, Hannah van Wyk run the organisation. Credit: Hannah van Wyk.

There are plans to install donation points beyond university grounds and into the city centre, with Chapter Arts Centre set to be the first new location.

“We had the Periods in Poverty party two weeks ago and… we raised nearly £300 and filled the donation bank,” said the Lead Volunteer. “That night we emptied that donation box and two days later [it] was full again.”

“For the next year we want to have at least three more donation points and there’s work with some local schools in the pipeline at the moment to have a trial of supplying them with donations,” said van Wyk.

The Periods in Poverty fundraiser featured live music, a glitter station and photo booth. Credit: Periods in Poverty.

Periods in Poverty also distribute their donated menstruation products to homeless individuals, refugees and those in shelters for domestic abuse, through their charity partners.

“I think we live in a time of luxury but at the same time huge poverty,” said van Wyk. “For years that divide was kind of ignored [but now] there’s an awareness of those who are less fortunate than you are.”

Periods in Poverty will campaigning and marching for this cause in Cardiff on International Women’s Day today, Thursday 8th March.

Volunteers creating posters for the Periods in Poverty drive.

Volunteers creating posters and banners for their organisation. Credit: Periods in Poverty

“We’re going to be taking part in the march and a couple of our volunteers are going to be making banners and protesting,” said van Wyk. “Just getting our organisation’s name out there but also getting to know other amazing organisations, be able to network and to just see more amazing babes.”

InterCardiff will be streaming International Women’s Day events in Cardiff live. Follow us on Twitter @intercardiff and Facebook @InterCardiff to stay up to date on the action.

Use our interactive map to find where you can donate menstruation products to Periods in Poverty around Cardiff.

*A survey of 1,000 14-21 year olds in the UK conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of Plan International UK, 2017.