Change the Cycle

A Peacemaking Project by Molly C.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Our project will address the stigma that is associated with menstrual periods as well as the difficulties that homeless individuals face while on their periods.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of homeless individuals having limited access to affordable and free sanitary products
we will address The unjust tax of sanitary products and the stigma that is associated with individuals' periods
by Creating care packages with sanitary products to give out to homeless individuals in Wilmington, Delaware and by starting a conversation about periods with people in the community.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • To donate 100 boxes of sanitary products, with personal messages to St. Patrick's Center in Wilmington, DE by May 21st
  • Start a discussion about menstruation in hopes of normalizing and eliminating the stigma that surrounds periods (planning to launch fall of 2018 in our school and community)

We will increase my / our compassion by...

trying to put ourselves in their shoes in order to better understand the struggles that homeless people with periods face. Also, we will honor the advice given to us by Sr. Catherine at St. Patrick's Center.

How will you show courage?

We will show courage by not giving up when facing adversity. Also, we will show courage by not being ashamed or afraid to talk about menstruation, a topic that is highly stigmatized and rarely talked about in our society.

How will you collaborate with others?

We interviewed a woman working at a local homeless shelter in order to better understand what homeless and people living in poverty face while on their period. Also, we will involve our school in seeking donations of products.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

People at our school will contribute to our cause and once we donate the boxes of sanitary products to the homeless shelter, if there is a high demand for more supplies we will know that our efforts were greatly appreciated.

Key Steps

  • Talk to our administrators about holding a drive for pads and tampons
  • Once approved we will present to the school about our project
  • We will place boxes around the school to collect the sanitary products
  • We will write personal, handwritten notes to attach to each package
  • Hand deliver the collected products to St. Patrick's Center by May 21st

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

This project helped my team and I realize that this is not a surface level issue. SO MANY people struggle to deal with their periods because of a lack of access to resources, something that I often take for granted. We also were better able to understand that not only do homeless individuals struggle with their periods, but so do those who are incarcerated.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

So far certain individuals in our community have been positively affected by our project in physical ways as we were able to donate menstruation products to our local homeless shelter. We would like to continue to help our community by having deep discussions in order to de-stigmatize periods.

How many people were impacted by your project?

100

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

We donated 100 boxes of pads and tampons to our St. Patrick's Center so I estimated that about 100 people benefited from our donation.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

We spoke to Sister Catherine, one of the coordinators at St. Patrick's Center, and she shared some stories about the people who benefit from the services provided at St. Pat's. She also shared about the lack of knowledge many employees had of the needs during a period.

What did your team learn?

We learned about the hardships that people go through in order to deal with their periods. We also learned that a little bit of effort can go a long way.

What challenges did your team overcome?

In the middle of our project our team completely changed what were going to do. After going to the shelter we learned that the needs were different than what we thought. Instead of donating care package type things we decided to donate entire boxes of pads and tampons.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

We got our entire school involved by hosting a product drive. Many people participated and helped us to achieve our goal.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

Give it your all. If you have a good work ethic and a good team you can achieve your goals. Also, choose a project you feel passionate about. If you don't feel passionate about your project you will probably lose interest and lack the drive needed to complete the project.

Our Updates:

Delivering the Products

Molly C. 10 June 2018 13:42 On Thursday, May 31 I took the products to St. Patrick's Center in Wilmington, DE. We donated 100 boxes of pads and tampons to be distributed at the center to those in need.

Comments:

Adrian B.
24 January 2018 16:20

Hi Molly! We're excited you've gotten started on your peacemaking journey with She Can LeadC. It sounds like your project will be related to girls'/women's leadership in some way. We'd love to hear more about your ideas! Let me know if you have any questions about how to get started with planning your project. :) Adrian

Molly C.
24 January 2018 16:54

Is there anyway to change the title of my project?

Fish S.
25 January 2018 14:33

Yes, go to your dashboard and click "update my project"

Adrian B.
14 February 2018 13:45

Hi Molly!

Thanks so much for posting this project! As part of the process of completing peacemaking projects, Peace First staff give formal feedback on important steps of your project. One of those steps is the compassionate insight.

I love the insight that you have here, and the project ideas you have! Access to menstrual products is a very important issue, and it looks like you got it exactly right by addressing sexism and "the bottom line"/capitalism in your response. I love this idea!

One small note on your insight: there are some women who don't get periods, and there are some people who get periods who aren't women. There are ways to make sure your campaign and language is inclusive of all these folks--here's some more information.

https://medium.com/clued-in/talking-about-periods-beyond-gender-db3dbedd00c3
https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/01/inclusive-period-positivity/
https://periodpositive.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/queeriods-lgbt-stem-poster-feb-2016.pdf
https://theestablishment.co/why-we-must-stop-calling-menstruation-a-womens-issue-a9c58c677f7c
https://theestablishment.co/inside-planned-parenthoods-push-for-gender-neutral-language-c275b9c07259

Using inclusive language and campaigning will help you reach more people, and it will make your insight factually accurate. What are your thoughts? Let me know if you have questions about this!

We also encourage everyone who is at this stage of their project to work towards deepening their understanding of the injustice they're focusing on. Uncovering all the root causes of your project (which you've already been doing great work on) can create a project that's even more effective and awesome!

What are additional causes of lack of access to menstrual products? You've already arrived at some very perceptive conclusions--one way you can go even deeper, if you'd like, is to talk to people who experience this injustice, people who cause this injustice, and people who are already working to solve this injustice.

While your insight is clear and logical as it stands, I would strongly encourage you to do interviews with each of those groups--it will enrich your project in lots of ways! Here are some resources on how to do that: https://www.peacefirst.org/understand-through-compassion

And you may have already encountered these awesome tidbits, but I would love to share my excitement with you about some of the awesome work more leaders around menstrual product access are doing:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/128408-4-menstrual-product-companies-that-help-people-in-need-access-tampons-more
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/brittany-dawson/tampon-tax_b_8407814.html
https://madamegandhi.blog/2015/04/26/sisterhood-blood-and-boobs-at-the-london-marathon-2015/

Thanks again, and I'm excited to see where this project goes! Such important and exciting work!

Best,
Adrian

Molly C.
21 February 2018 10:23

Thank you! We will be sure to change this in order to be completely inclusive and politically correct.

Adrian B.
23 February 2018 18:12

You're very welcome! I love this project and am happy to support however we can. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Fish S.
26 March 2018 10:49

Hi Molly!

We're excited to hear more about your ideas to address this important injustice! I wanted to let you know about an opportunity -- if you are interested in getting some funding for materials that you need to carry out your project, you can apply for a mini-grant of up to $250.

The deadline to submit your Project Plan and Mini-Grant Application is March 31st if you want to remain eligible to apply to attend a Peace First Accelerator.

As you craft your plan, be sure to consider the feedback we gave you on your compassionate insight, and check out our project planning tools for help turning your insight into a concrete action plan: https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Then, through your dashboard you can make any changes you want to make to your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let us know if you have questions or if we can help in any way. We're looking forward to supporting your project!

Jenny L.
4 April 2018 11:17

Hi Molly!
Thank you for being a peacemaker! We reviewed your project plan and mini-grant application and are really excited by the activities you have planned to normalize and eliminate the stigma that surrounds periods and make a positive contribution to people in your community. At this time your team was not approved for a mini-grant. However, don’t give up! We provided you with some feedback so that you can make some small revisions and re-submit your application.

Feedback:
I really love that you are combining addressing an urgent practical need and raising awareness around the issue among young people as a way of creating longer term impact. Your project plan did a great job of:
• Explaining what practical steps you will take to meet your goals and how these link back to the injustice you identified -- the stigma that is associated with menstrual periods as well as the difficulties that homeless individuals face while on their periods
• Showing how you are working to deepen your compassion by really understanding what the experience of homeless individuals on their periods is like
• Demonstrating how you plan to engage other young people in your school community in your proposed solution

The project can be strengthened by (please make these changes in the revised application):

• Reviewing and updating your budget. Some things to consider might be: have you included all the resources that you need for the drive and donations (i.e. we wondered whether you needed any funding to buy notecards for the notes you plan to include with your donations)?; have you researched the cost of sanitary products to make sure that you are requesting enough funding for the number of boxes you want to buy?

Thank you again for being a peacemaker. We are looking forward to seeing your revised mini-grant application and supporting you in getting your project underway very soon!

Kelsey T.
13 April 2018 10:33

Hi Molly! Congratulations! We have reviewed your advised mini-grant application and your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. In addition to Jenny's feedback, I wanted to share some feedback of my own:

Strengths:
I love that you have identified such an important and often overlooked injustice -- and that one of the root causes is the unjust tax of sanitary products, as well as the stigma associated with periods! You've got a specific plan in place, which is wonderful as well.

Things to Consider:
You mentioned spreading awareness that one of your goals is to start a conversation about menstruation to normalize and eliminate the stigma -- this is so important! I'm wondering how you can incorporate your understanding of the root cause of the tax on sanitary products into this work of spreading awareness -- is there a way you can use this opportunity to address the root cause while also impacting individual lives through the donation of products? How can you work with your community and policy makers to address this larger issue in order to create longer term impact? I think your project is a great first step toward creating this wider scale change!

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!

Adrian B.
8 June 2018 13:40

Hi Molly!

We're checking in because you haven't submitted your reflection yet. Reflections were due on May 31 as a part of your mini-grant award. Please submit your reflection as soon as you can. We're looking forward to hearing about how your project went!

Adrian B.
12 June 2018 17:18

Hi Molly!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Strengths:

WOW. I loved reading your reflection because it was wonderful learning more about your own growth and learning process throughout this phase of your project. You clearly are very self-reflective and open to new ideas and learning. I am impressed at how seamlessly you integrated gender inclusive language, and how you pivoted in terms of what you decided to offer to shelters once you realized a different need. I'm also excited at how you involved members of your school community in a sanitary products drive! And I'm excited for the deepening of your work by adding in a workshop/stigma breaking component. (I'm happy to think with you about resources and connections for this piece of your project!)

Things to consider:

This moment in your project is a great time to return to the "Understand" phase of project planning--to think about what you learned and what questions you still have. This is an important opportunity to talk with community members who are directly affected by this problem and understand their perspectives and priorities. I encourage you to talk with shelter residents themselves and ask what their needs and ideas are, and how you can further serve them (https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-1-talking-others). Here's more information about the "Understand" phase: https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/test-project-3/dashboard/understand-injustice. Let me know if you'd like more reading and resources on this topic as well--I'm happy to connect you to some!

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Best,
Adrian