The Dignity initiative in 2019 consists of ten corporate partners supporting their female employees to have access to sanitary items. Through the buy one give one model this helps to support over 55 schools and youth organisations to have the equivalent amount of tampons, pads and menstrual cups provided for free to those in need.
Jayne from REAF (Refugee Education for Adults and Families) got in touch with us after seeing the Dignity initiative featured in Next magazine.
She has worked for REAF for 19 years now. REAF is based at Selwyn College in Auckland and provides education to 120 adult refugee students. 90 of these students are women and are supported with the onsite Early Child Care centre next to the school to have their children cared for while they are in class.
Jayne and Margaret (director of REAF) were kind enough to show us around the classrooms, childcare centre as well as meeting the women at the school.
Previous to the Dignity donations the women were using rags, not coming to class and having to choose to either purchase sanitary items or food due to their low incomes.
Jayne had a box of Dignity pads and liners at the back of the class, Term 2 has just started and she has started to give the products out to the students.
Alot of the women are on benefits, have several daughters and have faced significant adversity as refugees.
Prior to REAF all students have spent 6 weeks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre . Before that, most were at refugee camps and from war torn countries.
The corporates supporting the Dignity initiative such as ANZ, Xero and Yellow are directly impacting these women and their ability to have dignity during their periods.
These women have children supported at the childcare centre that grow up to go to Selwyn College and then on to university.
REAF has had over 1200 graduates so far, some spend 2-3 years and other 10+ years at the centre.
Visiting REAF has to be one of the most memorable moments of the Dignity journey. To see the box of sanitary items we sent from our storage unit last week in the classroom half empty and being given to such strong, kind and deserving women is indescribable.
To find out more about what REAF does go to: http://www.selwyn.school.nz/Web/774/
To help us support us to give Dignity to more schools, youth organisations and women’s centres contact us below.