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Essentials 4 Women SA: Get Involved

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by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
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Helping women from all walks of life
pads tampons
What does a woman do if she can't afford to buy pads? (©paula mcmanus)

If you're a woman living on the street or struggling with financial hardship in your own home, having a period isn't just a monthly hassle – it's a nightmare.

It would be difficult enough to have to spend the little money you have on food and shelter, let alone having enough left over to purchase female sanitary items.

On Census night in 2011 there were 105,237 homeless people in Australia. 45,813 (or 44%) of these were women.

In South Australia, there are 5,985 homeless people. Of the 5,985, 3,376 are male and 2,505 are female (as per the 2011 ABS Census data)

Of those who stay in supported accommodation for the homeless - 49% are male, 51% are female.
Of those who sleep rough - 67.6% are male, 32.4% are female
Of those who stay in boarding houses - 74.8% are male, 25.2% female.

a little kindness goes a long way
A little kindness goes a long way (©paula mcmanus)

Each year, there are an estimated 85,000 women who use homeless services in Australia. According to the Salvation Army's Economic and Social Impact report, 68% of their clients are suffering extreme housing stress, 86% report severe deprivation and go without 5 or more basic items and many live off just $16.96 a day.

64% of the individuals who access the Salvation Army's services are women.

"In Australia, 2.5 million people continue to live below the poverty line (including more than 603,000 children)."

Pads and tampons are expensive to buy and many homeless or at-risk women just go without. There are stories of homeless women who stuff their knickers with newspaper or toilet paper. There are women in rural areas who cut up old rags in order to improvise. And, there are the parents who keep their daughters home from school during their period because they just can't afford to purchase sanitary items for them.

A campaign currently being run by the Essentials 4 Women SA aims to change that.

Essentials 4 Women are a registered charity who assist women who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, victims of domestic violence and those who are new to Australia as asylum seekers. The organisation aims to help any low-income woman with some basic daily necessities.

Give hope, restore dignity (©paula mcmanus)

From 1st August to 15th September 2016 Essentials 4 Women SA will be accepting donations of sanitary items, toiletries, and new underwear. Donated items will then be made into "Period Packs".

Each Period Pack contains a mixture of pads, tampons, liners, PocoPouches, overnight pads and a small chocolate.

At the completion of each donation drive, E4WSA Period Packs will be distributed to South Australian women in need - either directly through the organisation's main office, or via trusted service providers.

How you can help:
Donate some sanitary items, toiletries or new underwear. There are dozens of drop-off points across the city and suburbs and several rural collections points as well.

Donations are also welcome in the form of a store voucher that can then be used to purchase the women's essentials on your behalf.

By Post
You can post sanitary products or store vouchers to E4WSA once a month or as often as you like. Donations can be posted to:

Essentials 4 Women SA
C/o Sass Place
118A Glen Osmond Road
Parkside SA 5063

Cash donations:
Alternatively, you can donate to E4WSA by direct deposit into their bank account.

Please donate - you will never regret being kind.

mother and 2 children
"It's not a question of what I need, it's about what my kids need. I will never buy a luxury like tampons if my kids need something. They always need something.

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Why? get involved and help the women doing it tough in South Australia
When: 1st August to 15th September 2016
Phone: 0423012619
Your Comment
Can't imagine life without sanitary items - fantastic article Paula.
by Jenny Pickett (score: 3|1694) 1191 days ago
Thanks for raising an issue that is frequently overlooked in South Australia. It's an issue that effects dignity & self respect. I know just how debilitating these kinds of compromises can be. If I could make one suggestion, I think it would be very useful for a representative to mental health services & ask to hold inservice presentations at some of the locations around the state. The disconnection & lack of empathy demonstrated by some professionals who judge poverty rather than seek to understand the complex causes & impacts can be devastating. Making these types of compromises of dignity in a western society, particularly when based on the background of entrenched poverty cut very deeply into your sense of self worth. Unfortunately there are no dedicated health services set up to address povert in South Australia & practitioners sometimes easily trivialise the anxiety & distress & insecurity resulting from entrenched poverty. Attending some inservices may assist to educate staff from multidisciplinary backgrounds to be more compassionate & let them know about the aims of this program. Well done to the organisers!
by melan (score: 1|10) 1189 days ago
This is a great initiative but what would also be great would be supply of re-usable silicon "Diva" cups - less waste - lasts for years, wash under running water. No need to worry about next supply of disposables.
by Caroline Lloyd (score: 1|75) 1191 days ago
An excellent charity. If you don't have time to deliver items, you can go online to PocoPouches and order a box and they will deliver to E4WSA. Go to the E4WSA facebook page for the link - you receive 10% off too!
by sharo (score: 1|21) 1185 days ago
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