5 ways to provide sanitary products for girls in need

After the overwhelming response to, How do homeless women handle menstruation, many readers asked us how we can help and donate sanitary towels to the homeless?

If you are unfamiliar with the story of two homeless women, Julia and Zoe, read here.

On Saturday, 28th of May, it was Menstrual Hygiene Day and we’d like to commemorate that by suggesting five organisations that solely donate and provide female hygiene products to homeless women across South Africa:

1.    Happy Days

This organisation led by Ramona Kasavan and Phumzile Sithole manufactures and distributes pads to disadvantaged school girls. The Happy Days campaign, which was founded in 2013, encourages girls to talk and be free about their cycles.

As of May 2016, Happy Days have donated 420 000 pads to some South African girls and helped them deal with how they feel about themselves and their menstruation cycle, as they've also donated a four-month supply to various schools in Gauteng, Eastern Cape and North West provinces.

Happy Days do not only distribute, but they are also an education program that deals with body development and discusses the relationship between pads, periods and pregnancy to schoolgirls.

The Pads and Cents Programme Experience allows students to earn income by offering participants training that will equip them to go out to market and sell Happy Days sanitary pads. For more information, go to their site, or email them at Flo@sharehappydays.com

READ: 7 things we can do to help the homeless

2.    Dignity Dreams

This NGO focuses on helping young South African girls and women to meet their feminine hygiene needs. Their goal is to ensure that every underprivileged girl receives a Dignity Dream pack so that they can attend school, university or work in comfort.

According to their site, they provide washable and reusable sanitary wear which can be used for up to five years. Part of their pledge is to educate and dispel various myths and stigmas, which they combat by hosting various talks and demonstrations to rural communities in South Africa.

Dignity Dreams employs 19 workers to manufacture their products, which consists of pads and bags. These women sell their units to Dignity Dreams, meaning that these women have their own businesses. However strict quality control methods are in place.

Crowned Miss Africa 2014, Janet Potgieter is the Business Development Manager and International Brand Ambassador of Dignity Dreams. There are various ways to donate to their campaign, you can SMS ‘DIGNITY’ to 40287 to donate R20, use some of your SMARTSHOPPER points or donate via their site.

3.     Sub Padz

Created by South African fashion designer Sue Barnes, Sub Padz is a 100% cotton wool bikini panty, which has washable pads attached to it. Project Dignity is a scheme that helps to spread the awareness of feminine hygiene products needed in poor communities around our country.

Barnes told Marie Claire that they have already provided 42 000 pads in the first five years of the company running. She also distributes free packs of Sub Padz to schools and runs various talks on reproduction and the female body. If you would like to donate, visit their site.

4.     Caring4Girls

This distribution programme, which is driven by the Imbumba Foundation, provides sanitary towels for young girls during their menstrual cycle. Since 2012, the initiative focuses on creating awareness over female hygiene and handling of sanitary towels in deprived communities.

Caring4Girls is one of the recognised programmes under the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and is one of the campaigns supported during Mandela Day. According to the Roodepoort Northsider, the charity received 2 925 sanitary pads on March 2016 from the Kindness like confetti (KLC) and Charity begins with me (CBWM).
To contribute, you can SMS ‘GIRLCHILD’ to 42513 to pledge R30 or you can donate on the Imbumba Foundation website.

5.    Homeless Sanitary Drive

Recently, I stumbled upon this Facebook group, which I’m humbled to say was initiated after the Women24 homeless menstruation article. The Homeless Sanitary Drive, which was created in Cape Town, looks to donate and encourage women all over social network to donate sanitary “comfort packs” wherever they may be.  

Although they are not an official organisation, this group’s aim is to make a difference and engage with ladies all over the country to pay it forward and help those in need. The group currently has 319 likes on Facebook and hopes to get more by encouraging people to like and share their page. Follow the Homeless Sanitary Drive on Facebook and on Instagram.

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