Sanitary donations help schoolgirls

Cambridge business owner Franny McInnes has been collecting sanitary products for New Zealand schoolgirls in need.

Pregnant mums from around New Zealand have donated enough sanitary products to fill an entire pallet, with the donations destined to be distributed to Kiwi schoolgirls who are missing out on their education because of “period poverty”.

Franny McInnes, director of Cambridge-based online maternity store Breastmates, said she was thrilled at the generous response people had to her “Pass On Your Period” campaign, which kicked off on International Women’s Day in March. The campaign encouraged pregnant women to donate their new, unopened packs of menstrual supplies they would not be using during pregnancy to make a difference in the lives of Kiwi students who can’t afford to purchase them.

“Many young women’s educational opportunities are being limited because they miss school on days when they have their period, simply because they don’t have sanitary supplies,” Franny explained.

When Franny put out the call to the Breastmates community, the response was immediate and positive. “I have had loads of deliveries,” she said.  “And a number of people also said they would donate sanitary items to local charities, as they were previously not aware of the issue.”

Franny chose to partner with SPINZs (Sanitary Products in New Zealand Schools) to distribute the donated products to school and said that not only did she receive hygiene items, she also received a number of supportive letters and cheques to pass along to the charity.

“I also received a note and a mooncup from Hon Julie Anne Genter, the current Minister for Women who is pregnant with her first child, along with a note saying, ‘Love your work, Franny!’” she said.

Franny has chosen Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May) to pass on the donations, to SPINZs. Menstrual Hygiene Day aims to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.

“I was very humbled to be involved in this initiative,” Franny said. “Thanks to these donations, Kiwi girls will not only have access to the supplies they need, it will also enable them to attend school during their periods with dignity and confidence.”

Further donations of new, unopened packs of menstrual supplies can be made directly to SPINZ.

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