The Pachamama Project
We are working with the Pachamama Project to end Period Poverty for Refugees: Your Opportunity to Help.
In the SU, we have made strides in the fight to eliminate period poverty. With the period exchange, we offer free sanitary products for all who need them. While we are happy to ensure that no student should have to go without sanitary products, that is far from the case everywhere and especially for refugees. Refugees are some of the most vulnerable people in today’s society who have had to flee their home countries because of war, natural disasters, or persecution from totalitarian regimes. Many refugees are unable to get access to sanitary products opting to make their own with paper or cardboard which can lead to infection. This is where the Pachamama Project comes in, and as a Students’ Union, we want to help them in their goal to eliminate period poverty for all!
What is the Pachamama Project?
The Pachamama Project are a volunteer-run, non-profit charitable organisation that supplies refugee camps across the world with reusable sanitary products. They make the products from fabrics, meaning that the pads can be washed and re-used more than once. They were formed during the first 2020 covid-19 lockdown by 20-year-old Bristol University student, Ella Lambert, along with her friend Oliwia Geisler. Through the help of volunteers either donating money or sending the reusable pads (or Pacha pads as they call them) they’ve been able to set up partnerships with refugee camps across the world.
What is Period Poverty?
Period poverty refers to a lack of access to sanitary products, facilities, and adequate education. It is estimated that some 500 million people, or 25% of people who menstruate, are living in period poverty. Many can’t afford sanitary products due to how expensive they are, with it estimated that in a lifetime people who menstruate will spend up to £18,450 on their periods (which is approximately the same price as an Audi TT). Access to sanitary products should never be a strain on somebody, let alone those who are having to flee their countries.
The Pachamama Impact
The Pachamama Project work with various refugee camps across 10 countries, including, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, the UK, the USA, Uganda, Poland, Ukraine, and Latvia. They also have 12 distribution partners in places including Lviv, Warsaw, Athens, Bekaa Valley, Swindon, Beirut, and Washington DC to name a few.
How is the Students' Union helping out?
We are asking students to make reusable sanitary products over the summer and to bring them back to the SU in September. After this, we will send the products to the charity who will then send them on to the camps. From Ukraine alone, it is estimated that approximately 6 million refugees have fled the country with that number expected to rise. Demand for the pads has gone up and will only continue to. This is a completely voluntary scheme where you can make as many or as few sanitary pads as you like.
If you are able to help out and are looking for a bit of a project to do over the summer break then it would be greatly appreciated if you decide to take part. If you are interested in helping, please see some useful documents attached below, includingh the guide and templates to make the pads. If you have any questions or need assistance, please email email@example.com.