Charity The Period Place has received such an increase in demand for support that it has started a campaign to raise $20,000 to create the first community hub for periods in Aotearoa.
The Period Place works towards a future where periods are seen as normal, healthy and without stigma. Since 2017 it has delivered over 350,000 period products to people nationwide.
The Period Place Co-founder and chief executive Danika Revell says the charity has had a 600% increase in requests for support since November 2020 for free period products and period education.
“The period place is at a point now where every day we are getting more people emailing us and contacting us and asking for period product support,” she says.
The plan is to open a hub near Onehunga Mall in Auckland.
“By providing a physical community space dedicated to periods in a prominent location in Onehunga, Auckland, we’re not only smashing period stigma that exists out in public and internally for so many of us but we’re also providing a place to access period products and period education in a way that’s never been done before,” Revell says.
“There are a couple of places on Onehunga Mall that we are looking at at the moment and, if we hit that threshold of $20,000, we get to have it. So I want somewhere that’s prominent, that’s on a main street that has the word ‘period’ above it when people are walking past.”
What the hub will provide
The hub will provide reusable products to buy as well as access free reusable products and disposable products from New Zealand brands.
“We’ll be bringing the first permanent reusable marketplace to life for Kiwi brands, so people can touch and feel the product ranges before investing in them.”
There will be resources available for people to further their period learning journey for themselves or others, including books, brochures, games, and other learning tools.
“They’ll just be able to come and have a laugh, come along to our panel talks and learn about periods in the workplace, periods in te ao Māori, periods and nutrition, whatever talks we’ve got on. There will be classes for teen parents and for students and it’s going to be fantastic but we need to hit that $20,000.”
The Period Place national survey in 2020 found that 22% of Kiwis were ashamed about their period.
“They feel guilty about a bodily function that they get and that to us is a frustrating and sad statistic and that’s something we want this hub to help to address, having a proud community space about period health, access to nurses and gynaecologists, free access to classes about periods. We want to break down that stigma for people out in public and internally for them as well so they can just come and learn about a normal bodily function and then get on with their lives.”
The research also showed that 38% of rangatahi and adults have missed school or work due to lack of access to products. This was higher for Māori and Pasifika women at 55%.
The Period Place, which is not funded by the government, has started a givealittle page to collect donations from the community.
“Every donor will have their name up on the wall in The Period Place,” Revell says.
The campaign will end in a week on Tuesday, May 18.