Press Release 6 March 2018
Pass on Your Period
On International Women’s Day (8 March), pregnant women are being encouraged to donate their new, unopened packs of sanitary products to help Kiwi schoolgirls who are missing out on their education because of “period poverty”.
Franny McInnes, the Director of Cambridge-based online maternity store Breastmates, says that if every pregnant mum in New Zealand passes on the menstruation supplies she won’t be using during pregnancy, it would make a significant difference to the lives of Kiwi students who can’t afford to purchase them.
“I was speaking to a friend who is a teacher, and I was shocked to learn that a huge number of Kiwi girls miss school on days when they have their period, simply because they don’t have sanitary supplies,” Franny says. “I hadn’t realised this was an issue in New Zealand, and I never thought of sanitary products as a luxury item.
“Many young women’s educational opportunities are being limited because they can’t afford sanitary products,” Franny says.
Franny recalled her involvement with the Bras for Africa campaign a few years ago, when she collected over 40,000 bras to send to women and schoolgirls in Africa, and a new idea to help girls here at home was born. “I’ve built a great local community of women through Breastmates, and when I was collecting bras, they were so supportive and interested in getting involved. Since many of them are pregnant or breastfeeding new babies and aren’t having their periods during this time, I’m asking them to donate their unused packs of sanitary products, which I’ll then pass along to charities who can distribute them to Kiwi girls in need.
“There were 59,610 births in New Zealand in 2017,” she continues. “If we have a similar number of births in 2018, that works out to over half a million packs of sanitary products women aren’t using during the nine months of pregnancy. Donating them to Kiwi girls in need is a small gesture that will have a big impact – not only will our girls have access to the supplies they need, it will also enable them to attend school during their periods with dignity and confidence.”
Franny will collect new, unopened packs of disposable sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups from 8 to 31 March. The products can be posted to Pass On Your Period, c/- Breastmates, PO Box 830, Cambridge 3450. [Cambridge locals are welcome to drop them off to Breastmates HQ, Oliver Street near mitre10.]
“Apart from designing maternity clothing and running my e-commerce site, I’m very happy to put my time and my staff into this campaign. And it helps that I’ve got my warehouse and distribution channels, which will make it easier than if I was trying to do this on my own.
“I also encourage people to donate money to charities that distribute sanitary products to schoolgirls, such as The Foodbank Project through The Salvation Army, and SPINZs (Sanitary Products in New Zealand Schools).”
Franny is also hopeful that our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, will donate the sanitary products she hasn’t used during her own pregnancy to the project.
There are some wonderful organisations and charities around New Zealand working to collect and distribute sanitary supplies to young women in need, many work on financial donations or Buy One Give One systems.
- * SPINZs (Sanitary Products in New Zealand Schools) and please like their Facebook Page
- * KidsCan – financial donations to help fund hygiene bundles for school girls throughout New Zealand
- * MyCup – buy a menstrual cup and they donate one for women in need, and also in schools. They work with community groups all over New Zealand. If you visit their website and buy a cup, use coupon code “breastmatesdonate” at their checkout and they will donate one to our Breastmates campaign.
- * Feel Good Period – Auckland based, they provide Buy One Give One packs during adolescent period talks at schools
- * The Salvation Army Foodbank Project – Financial donation for Woman’s hygiene bundle. You can also donate products at Countdown which go to foodbanks.
- * Go With The Flow – Wellington based, accept product donations
- * Shine -Auckland based, accept product donations
- * Lumii – Auckland based. Donate $5 and they’ll donate a cup to women in need through the Auckland City Mission.
- * Oi – Buy One Give One, plus they match every donation made
- * Dignity – Buy One Give One – for businesses providing products in their staff restrooms
- * United Sustainable Sisters Auckland based, providing cups and washable pads to women. They accept financial donations and also fabric for the cloth pads they sew.
- Anyone can donate.
- Perhaps ask some friends and make a mini collection to send us.
- “Period poverty” is when women are unfairly disadvantaged because they cannot afford sanitary items.
- Many young women who can’t afford sanitary products will either miss school altogether during their period, or will use unhygienic and dangerous substitute items such as rags, pages from telephone books, and newspapers instead.
- Breastmates will collect new, unused, unopened packs of sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups from 8 to 31 March, and will pass them on to charities to distribute to young women in need. Products can be posted to Pass On Your Period, c/- Breastmates, PO Box 830, Cambridge 3450. Cambridge locals can drop to Breastmates HQ on Oliver St.
- For more information, please email Franny McInnes at [email protected] or phone (07) 823 1412.