By Maria Bergwitz
Notre Dame University’s Student Association has installed collection bins for sanitary items to donate to the area’s homeless women in a bid to alleviate inevitable expenses.
In collaboration with Share The Dignity, an incentive started by Brisbane woman Rochelle Courtenay, Student Association member Evangeline Douglas organised the bins.
“It’s troubling to think of the monthly indignity people who menstruate must suffer when a choice between eating or proper sanitation has to be made,” said Miss Douglas.
“Through stigmatisation, society often leaves homeless people feeling like they are less than people, hopefully through this collection we can help restore a sense of dignity and humanity to those people so that difficult decision does not have to be made.”
The cost of a period comes to about $5, or the equivalent of almost six loaves of bread, if needing only two packs of tampons and going for the cheapest option at Fremantle’s local supermarket Coles.
Though many women require more than two packs to get by each month, and some, in addition, are allergic to certain chemical compounds found in non-organic sanitary products.
Inevitably, these women will have to fork out about $14 every three to four weeks, or give up about fifteen loaves of bread.
Providing support services in the Fremantle area, St. Patrick’s Community Support Centre welcomes the initiative and backs its necessity.
“Last year alone we assisted 430 women, mostly between the ages of 25 and 40, who were homeless and/or experiencing financial hardship,” said CEO Steve McDermott.
“And we believe that this figure is increasing.”
Mr McDermott says items including clothing, toiletries, and sanitary products are not always affordable for women who come to the centre for assistance.
The collection bins at Notre Dame have been in place for about two weeks and students have so far filled up more than 60L of empty space with sanitary items.
“I have been blown away by how successful the collection has been,” said Miss Douglas.
“As I was setting up the bins I had multiple students express their eagerness to donate and have since seen entire shopping bags filled with sanitary products steadily filling them up.”
The bins will remain in place until the end of the exam period when all donations will be distributed to women’s shelters in the local Fremantle area.