By Grainne Graham, Contributor
The Homeless Period was set up as a non-profit organisation in Belfast in November last year, after several other similar projects had begun in England and America. As their slogan goes, they are ‘‘A volunteer led campaign, providing homeless and vulnerable women across Belfast with sanitary and other hygiene items”. Set up by Katrina McDonnell, a student living in the Belfast area, she felt obligated to ‘‘supply women with the items they struggle to get access to.’’
In particular, the volunteers in this organisation collect ‘‘donations of wipes, underwear and sanitary items and produce female care packages which will then be delivered to various projects and shelters across Belfast”. There has been a Facebook page set up in order to make their idea known as well as a donation webpage, listed below. The donated money goes towards the purchasing of such items in order to ‘‘make a difference for as many women as possible who are in difficult circumstances, allowing their dignity and health to be maintained through their periods.’’
Katrina McDonnell has herself volunteered helping the homeless in the past, but said ‘‘The Homeless Period campaign made me think about homelessness in a way I’d never thought about homelessness before”. Upon setting up the campaign she discovered ‘‘that many food banks, women’s hostels and street teams lack these types of donations”. Due to the stigma associated with periods, it is often a disregarded topic, yet ‘‘some women are forced to use ripped up cloths, old socks or toilet roll from public toilets’’ which can then lead to infection, causing this issue to not only have an emotional impact upon the woman, but equally presents a danger to women’s physical health.
After setting up the campaign Facebook page, word began to spread and within a day the page had reached a total of 1,000 likes. Several donation points have been placed throughout Belfast in the form of pink “bins”. ‘‘Once the bins were full, we emptied them to put together sanitary care packs consisting of sanitary towels, tampons, new underwear and wipes.”. After doing this, the packages are distributed to woman’s refuges (woman’s aid) food banks, street teams, and NICRAS (Northern Ireland Community for Refugees and Asylum Seekers).
To date, there are seven public donation points, as well as several businesses collecting amongst their staff. Every month, collections and distributions occur after the bins are filled. Public donation bins can be found across Belfast, three being in the South Belfast area, including Queen’s Student Union, The Women’s Resource and Development Agency and The Woodworkers bar. At this point, £1710 has been donated through the webpage gofundme.com by a total of sixty-four people in the past four months. Their Facebook page has reached over 2,000 likes, as well as over 700 Twitter followers.
The Huffington Post stated ‘‘Free Tampons should be a Human Right’’ – and through the use of organisations like The Homeless Period it is certainly one step closer.
Visit the campaign at: https://www.facebook.com/TheHomelessPeriodBelfast
The Homeless Period Belfast is a volunteer led campaign, providing homeless and vulnerable women across Belfast with sanitary and other hygiene items.
Donation link: https://www.gofundme.com/the-homeless-period-belfast
Hello 🙂 My name is Katrina and I am a student from Belfast. Thank you so much for taking the time to look at The Homeless Period Belfast fundraising page.