I'm still fairly new here at Share the Dignity, but I am so glad to be a part of this amazing team.
A little back ground on me - I am a mum to two girls (5 &1), a wife and a nurse. About two months back I made my 40 by 40 list. With 40 things I want to achieve by the time I turn 40 (early I know, I still have 15 years...). One of those items on my list was to volunteer/donate my time to something that has meaning for me.
When I heard about Share the Dignity I knew this was something I WANTED to be a part of and signed up to be a collection point. A few days later the opportunity to help more behind the scenes came up and I jumped at it.
Being involved with Share the Dignity has led to a few interesting conversations with people... including with my 5 year old daughter.
While helping my package up open packs into care packages the conversation went a little something like this:
5 Year Old: "What are these, mum?"
Me: “They are tampons”
5 Year Old: "What are they for?"
Me: "For bigger girls to help keep their undies clean" (patting myself on the back for avoiding explaining periods)
5 Year Old: "So, when I'm 6 I can use them?"
Me: "I think we have finished making packs! Let’s pack up"
I was actually a bit worried when I saw an email from her teacher in my inbox that I was going to receive a reprimand and that 5 Year Old had been standing on a soap box somewhere giving lectures on tampons. But - thank goodness the email was only about lemons.
A few days earlier, when I was in Coles buying some sanitary items for my own use, 5 Year Old asked: "Mum, are they lady pads for the homeless?” I think my whole suburb was at Coles that day. In the same aisle.
My husband is very tolerant of the whole thing, although slightly bemused. He came home from a bike ride with 5 Year Old the other day, walked in the door and said “Um, there are a few boxes of things at the front door"- someone had made a delivery while I was out the back. Quite. A. Few. Tena Pants.
When people find out about Share The Dignity, the reaction is often the same. "I never once thought about it".
Neither did I.
Now I have I am determined to help give our homeless and at risk women the dignity of sanitary items when they need them.
I know I’m not going to be able to solve all the world’s problems - but being able to help homeless and at risk women have dignity while menstruating is important. Letting ANYONE have their dignity is very important. I think we need to remember there are many people in need who don't get the attention that other organisations/charities receive. I think of how I would feel if it was me in that situation (which is a similar approach I have to nursing "what if that was my mum/dad/grandparent/child laying in that bed, how would I want THEM treated")
I've had people tell me stories about them/friends/family members who have been homeless for whatever reason, and only literally having the clothes on their back. There was a message on the weekend from one lady who had been close to homeless and having to make the choice to buy pads or not. Now that she is back on her feet she is donating to others- this made me cry. This is a woman who has been there and seen the need for assistance, now giving to those who need it.
I have to admit it's a pretty awesome bunch of women in Share The Dignity. All of us are volunteers. We seems to have the right mix of crazy, funny, loving, caring, welcoming and helpful. I didn't know any of them before joining Share the Dignity, but I am so glad I know them now.