Medical student launches foundation to tackle period povertyWednesday, March 03, 2021
BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON
SHANTAY Bailey says that from her childhood days she has always had the dream of starting a charity for young women as she was inspired by the kind nature of her mother and grandmother who assist the needy in their Ocho Rios community.
Now, the 25-year-old medical student who is studying at Anhui Medical University in China is fulfilling her dream. She recently launched a page on her Instagram account which she has named Girls Do Good Foundation, to seek help for young women from low-income families who need feminine hygiene products.
“One of my favourite things to do is to watch TedTalks on YouTube. It was through that medium that I learnt of the phrase 'period poverty'. Initially I was blown away, then after, all I felt was sadness,” Bailey told the Jamaica Observer.
She explained that she was unaware of the phenomena. “I was heartbroken by the fact that there are young girls and women in our world today who are discriminated against, who miss out on a fair chance at education because of something that is normal to us as women and is a sign of a good reproductive health. It was at that moment I knew I needed to do something to help.”
According to a 2018 survey conducted among guidance counsellers in 25 schools across the island, 44 per cent of grade seven girls in those schools were affected by period poverty, which is a phenomena whereby women and girls cannot afford menstrual products.
Bailey pointed out that she became gravely concerned amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, as she knew that some of the girls relied heavily on guidance counsellers for sanitary napkins when attending physical school.
“During this pandemic, the thought of period poverty weighed heavily on me, especially whenever my period came, and I thought about those who were unable to afford and had no access to sanitary napkins now more than ever,” she said.
Noting that she was unsure of how to start the charity, Bailey reached out to Sara-Lou Morgan-Walker, executive director of the Angelic Ladies Society Charity, who provided her with the steps required to operate a non-governmental organisation.
Bailey said 12 care packages will be donated to girls at her alma mater, Ocho Rios High School, with the help of a few friends on Friday. The care packages include a three-month supply of sanitary napkins, tissues, lotions, conditioning shampoos, bath soaps, toothpastes, toothbrushes, rags, wipes and deodorants.
“It is one thing to have a dream, but it is a completely different thing when you have the support and people who are willing to help you manifest it into something great. I am feeling very grateful for the fact that we will be distributing to some girls and they will be blessed. I am hoping that they will be grateful and know that there are people out there who are thinking about them,” she said.
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