A mom from Chorley started her own nonprofit to help other women and girls tackle menstrual poverty after having to choose between food and sanitation.
When money was tight, Alex Chetwynd found herself using wads of toilet paper and scraps of tissue because she couldn’t afford towels and tampons.
Menstrual poverty in the UK affects one in ten women between the ages of 14 and 21 and after going through it for herself, Alex, 23, decided she wanted to do her part to make a difference.
After researching shocking statistics, Alex decided to start his own charity to provide products, help and support to women in his area and hasn’t looked back since.
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Alex started her charity, Period Progress, in September, but stats weren’t the only motivator for this mom of three who had faced her own experiences of menstrual poverty.
As a stay-at-home mom to three little girls, Alex always tried her best to put them first, even when the financial situation got tough while her husband was in college. Alex has made food a priority for his children.
“Since my husband started college there have been a number of occasions where I have had to sacrifice products because I cannot work due to lack of childcare, so we just rely on my husband’s maintenance loans from college to survive month to month, Alex said.
“Obviously this can leave finances very tight and when that happens I always have to sacrifice commodities for other necessities like food and anything our children may need for nursery and school.
“As a mother, their needs will always come before mine, so I would use toilet paper and old cut clothes instead.”
The pressure to provide for her family meant that Alex put her needs aside and at times didn’t feel like she could turn to her loved ones for help.
Alex said: “If I had the chance, my mom would buy me the products and send them to me, but it wasn’t often because most of the time I was too embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t. afford me the products.
“This is often the case where I buy a meal for myself or some sanitary products and as a family of five with 3 very young children, food always comes first.”
Knowing that other women have shared similar experiences, Alex knew she wanted to do something and be a person people can turn to when they don’t feel confident enough to ask those around them.
With the charity, Alex hopes to reach young girls and women in need through schools, colleges and universities, as well as provide a service where people can come forward to ask for help and support. advice.
While the association is still in its infancy, Alex has been busy finding volunteers, talking to a woman in her local community, and starting her collection of sanitary products so she can distribute them as needed.
Already, Alex has been overwhelmed by the response on her social media pages and is hoping the positive support will help her reach those in need.
“The number of women who have already come forward and said that it has affected them at some point in their lives and that they would like to get involved is huge,” she said.
“I want to help end menstrual poverty because it shouldn’t be happening in 2021 and the fact that it’s still a taboo subject, I think, is really wrong. Over the past few years, society has really become good at talking about mental health and that’s amazing.
“But something as natural as having your period is still frowned upon and it’s just about raising awareness and breaking down that stigma.
“I also want to provide a service where if teenagers or even women are in difficult situations at home, either they have a bad relationship with their parents or their partner and they feel like they can’t ask. people around them to get [sanitary products] for them or buy them for them, they can contact us and we can mail them. “
Help and advice from the association as well as places to donate are available on the Facebook page created to launch the organization.
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