Social venture gives sanitary supplies for women in need at Christmas

23 December 2017
Feel Good Period

We are used to giving food and toys to people in need around Christmas, but one social enterprise wants to make sure they get another often-overlooked female necessity – sanitary products.

Feel Good Period, run by students and recent graduates from the University of Auckland, have done a pre-Christmas drop of sanitary supplies to the Auckland City Mission, with another planned Christmas week.

The social enterprise took shape through a University entrepreneurship competition called the Velocity 100k Challenge (it was a finalist in the social entrepreneurship category in 2016). Its mission: to change the taboo around menstruation and improve accessibility of sanitary products for women in hardship. 

Co-founder Nikita Kapoor, then a Masters in Bioscience Enterprise student, came up with the idea after talking to some homeless women about their needs.

"I was talking to one lady and she mentioned menstruation and I was actually taken by surprise. I never thought how difficult it would be for them to reach out to other people, to strangers,” says Ms Kapoor.

“She mentioned how much of a struggle it is to have tampons or pads because it is not something that people actively donate. It's somewhat easy to ask random strangers for money, for food, but it is embarrassing asking a random person for sanitary products.”

Kapoor and her sister, Ria Kapoor, founded the social enterprise and developed it through Velocity with teammates and fellow University of Auckland students Ana Saulala, Vivien Lei, Sacha Baillie, Nicholas Kam and Shifaz Khan. They adopted a buy-one-give-one model: with every purchase of a Feel Good Period pack, which are sold on Facebook and TradeMe, a box of sanitary pads is donated to Auckland City Mission or Women's Refuge. Each Feel Good Period care package contains tampons, pads, and care items such as herbal tea, soap and chocolate.

Says Ana Saulala, who finished her Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts degrees this year, “In 2018, we’re looking at setting up a monthly service, where subscribers get a care package delivered every month and the idea is you open it on your first day of your period. We want to turn periods from something negative and secretive into something that you look forward to.”

Feel Good Period also want to help young women still at school. They sell care packs containing sanitary products and information aimed at destigmatising periods to parents with daughters in high decile schools, and gift identical packs to school girls who cannot afford the products. 

“Financial hardship and social stigma around menstruation make it difficult for some school girls to get access to basic sanitary products. We want to work with schools and parents to help all girls get that access,” says Saulala.

Earlier this year, Pacific Institute of Performing Arts from Avondale teamed up with Feel Good Period and asked audience members in their annual production of Herstory to donate sanitary products with their tickets. Over 200 packs were gifted and passed on to the Auckland City Mission. Pacific Institute of Performing Arts will repeat the exercise next year.

Visit the Facebook page here.

ENDS

Contact Nicola Shepheard
Media Relations Adviser
Tel: 09 923 1515  Mob: 027 537 1319
Email: n.shepheard@auckland.ac.nz