Period poverty

By Anne Das

Period poverty is defined as a lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management, and education. This affects many women in Malaysia and all over the world which causes physical, mental, and emotional challenges. The stigma that shrouds menstrual periods, further prevents people from talking about it.

Many do not realise the seriousness of period poverty, likened to other forms of poverty, which can be debilitating. It morphs into emotional, physical, and mental health and affecting more than half the population. It is high time that poverty becomes everybody’s business.

“Many people think it is unfathomable in this day and age, to have this kind of scarcity. I have seen women in poverty-stricken areas cut 1 sanitary pad into 3” explained Ms Yip Siew Keen, Secretary and Co-Founder of PWW, empathetically.

“During the pandemic, we heard pleas from communities in Ipoh, especially the Orang Asli villages, B40 urban poor and rural schools here”.

PWW started collecting and distributing packets of sanitary pads to these underprivileged women and girls in January 2021, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic. Ms. Yip was speaking to Ipoh Echo from the PWW Shop where she received 10,000 sanitary pads donated by good Samaritan Dr. Carrine Teoh.

“This was the first time I heard of menstrual period poverty and was shocked that it exists.  I called a few of my girlfriends and we pooled together some money to purchase about 500 packs which amounts to 10,000 sanitary pads.

We hope that this will start a trend in women for women empowerment” said Dr. Teoh.

PWW is a registered, apolitical, non-profitable and non-governmental organisation set up in 2003 to enhance the status and lives of women in Perak irrespective of their race, religion and social background.

Manned by volunteers, the PWW Shop opens from 10am to 3pm (opened daily) at 15, Market Street (next door to Market Place Waffle Café).  Those who would like to donate, please call this number 011-65569715.

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