British Columbia

'Period Promise' project expanding to help more vulnerable women access tampons and pads 

The provincial government is teaming up with United Way and other organizations to expand a project that had already been mandated in B.C. public schools. 

Province launched its free menstrual products program in all B.C. public schools in April

The Period Promise campaign advocated for access to free menstrual hygiene products. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

The provincial government is teaming up with United Way and other organizations to expand a project that has already been mandated in B.C. public schools. 

On April 5, the province decreed all public schools would have free menstrual products for students by the end of 2019. 

Now, the project, called "Period Promise," will provide a one-time grant of $95,000 to 12 non-profit agencies which will distribute the products to other populations in need. 

"The cost of these products can be a challenge. it can create a situation where people need to choose between health and hygiene and other essentials like food," said Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson. "This is a choice that no one should have to make for themselves or their children."

Access to care

The project will collect data four times a year on the number of people helped and will track how the lack of access to tampons and pads affects women's lives. 

United Way receives the products at a reduced rate so more non-profits can participate in the project. One of those non-profits, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, says it's joining the campaign to create greater equality for women, trans and non-binary people.

"The stigma that's been attached to menstruation affects each and every one of us who has a period. It is especially difficult, though, for those people struggling with poverty, as has been mentioned," said board president Barbara Wood. 

The Period Promise project runs until July 2020. 

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