Anyone who’s had a period knows what it’s like to realize you’ve used your last pad or tampon. Imagine that feeling multiplied by every day of every period for the foreseeable future. This is the reality millions of people with periods face across the world because they don’t have access to or can’t afford menstrual products. Frankly, that reality sucks. However, you can help by supporting organizations that donate menstrual products to people with periods who need them.
Lack of access to affordable menstrual products is a global problem. In the United States, 26.4 million people can’t afford menstrual products. Across the world, an estimated 100 million young people lack access to adequate menstrual products. Without access to these products, many students miss school or drop out entirely during their period. In Sub-Saharan Africa, one in 10 students miss school during their period. In India, one in four students don’t come to school when they’re menstruating. Having a period shouldn’t have to cost a student their education.
There are a few reasons we likely don’t hear enough about this problem. One of them is period stigma and the idea that something half the population experiences is taboo. Another is the notion that periods are a “female problem” and theirs alone to worry about. This ignores the existence of transgender men (who may have periods) and transgender women (who may not) as well as nonbinary people. Menstrual health should be important to everyone because it implies everyone having access to basic toiletries and sanitary goods.
You can help provide people with periods the menstrual products they need by supporting places already doing the work. Here are 10 organizations dedicated to menstrual health you can help.