General Services Foundation
Feminine Hygiene Drives
Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Written by: Divya Palasamudram
It is safe to say that even in today’s society, there is still stigma around periods and period products. So not only were these feminine hygiene drives a great way to collect much needed items for the Diaper Bank of NC, but it was also a great effort to destigmatize menstruation. Five feminine hygiene drives have been held by Asmi Palakodeti, Jasmine Nguyen, Sowndarya Chivukula, Sarayu Buchireddygari, Pranali Patel, and Smrithi Muthukrishnan. From these drives, a grand total of 38 packs or 1396 feminine hygiene products were collected! These drives would not have happened without Asmi Palakodeti as she started off her drive as her own personal project, many people liked the idea and joined her in running their own feminine hygiene drives! Jasmine Nguyen was able to collect the most items at 27 packs or 845 products total! As mentioned before, all these items went to the Diaper Bank, an organization that strives to provide all NC families with basic necessities to support their dignity, health, and quality of life.
How did the stigma around period products affect promotion and outcome?
Promoting drives itself can potentially be difficult, but promoting a drive that can be considered taboo by many neighbors can be much harder. During the interview, Sarayu said , “There definitely is a stigma about menstruation and period products. The reason we didn't get as many donations as we wanted is because our parents were a bit skeptical sending a flyer into the group chat.” Sarayu’s experience further shows the impact of the stigma around periods, but the work her and her teammate, Pranali, did to host this drive was definitely a significant step on the path towards normalizing periods.
As a club that does a variety of service projects, it is always nice to learn about ways people promote their projects. Just like in many cases, a lot of members who hosted a feminine hygiene drive found that promoting through the neighborhood group chat was the most effective. In addition to this, Sarayu handed out flyers to people walking around the neighborhood and Smrithi also promoted through putting up flyers at their community mailboxes.
How did the winner, Jasmine, promote her drive?
As mentioned before, Jasmine collected the most feminine hygiene products at 27 packs or 845 products total! Along with using flyers and posting on the neighborhood group chat, Jasmine was able to find a unique way to promote. She used the app Nextdoor to post about her drive, and through this app, everyone in the community with the app received information about her drive. This was a great digital way to spread the word, and super effective as well! Jasmine said that the amount of positive feedback and success from posting on Nextdoor was unexpected. She was proud of how helpful everyone was and how people on the app were encouraging others to donate. She found that her drive definitely helped in decreasing the stigma around periods and period products.
Besides from the big obstacle of the stigma around period products, which we discussed quite thoroughly in this post, there were some other obstacles that people encountered when holding this drive. Asmi said that after putting up flyers to promote her drive, it rained, causing many of the flyers to become damaged. Another factor that hindered donations was the fact that all items had to be brand new, meaning that those who donate need to put in more effort compared to say, a gently used clothing drive. But, it is important to keep in mind that obstacles are a part of every project, there is always a way around them!
The feminine hygiene drives were a huge success and definitely helped play a part in normalizing periods. Every item collected was valuable and will truly be appreciated. If this has inspired you to start a project of your own, that is awesome! The General Services board is always here to assist you with starting your own service project.