"It is a relief and one less worry/stress for the wahine/whanau. They have been reporting more self esteem and sense of freedom, especially when they opt for the reusable products ,knowing that they are helping Papatuanuku (environment). For our vulnerable youth, they are more empowered and less embarrassed, especially with the education sessions that I have with them"
Kokiri Marae runs over 30 different programs for the community, from sexual health education, alcohol bridging programs, food banks, alternative schools, and much more.
We spoke to Shelley Duffin, Sexual and Reproductive Health Promoter/Educator at Kokiri Marae who has been distributing products gifted by Dignity to those without access.
What is the impact on people having these products provided?
They feel a lot better in themselves, want to continue attending school and work. Cups and AWWA underwear have meant managing their period is easy and they are happy that they are good for the environment. They get to know themselves a lot better and their period is no longer a financial and emotional burden.
What are the needs of the people who come to you?
Individuals range from age 12 - 40, there is a focus on families with younger people. The Majority are at-risk kids from homes where money is an issue, not stable life in transition homes.
One example is a mother with three daughters and a foster parent. AWWA underwear helped massively with no money coming in the freedom with these products no only financial but bodily freedom.
What are the barriers for people accessing period products?
Financial restrictions are the main barrier as well as not being settled in a safe stable home. Many haven't been educated on their bodies, we have found it very important to educate fathers and men in general around people that get their periods. Sill a stigma around people getting their period.