I grew up in a small community in Trinidad and Tobago with what I call 'humble beginnings" . My siblings and I did not consider ourselves poor, until it was pointed out to us because we were not privy to certain amenities.I remember when I got my first period, I had no access to sanitary napkins and my mom gave me cloth to use. I remember feeling embarrassed, scared and ashamed. ( especially at school). Whenever, I got my period I did not want to go to school.
As the years went by and I entered the working arena, I made it a point to stock up on large bags of sanitary napkin ( because I was afraid of running out). When my daughters started having their period I did the same thing. I remember my daughter coming home from school one day with tears in her eyes. She explained that a student confided in her that she had no "supplies". She said it broke her heart so much. Although I sympathized, and offered assistance ,I did not give it much thought.
It would not be until years later after going through traumatic events in my life, I decided to start a Non Profit Organization that focuses on menstrual equity. I was determined to reach out to young girls and women who are disadvantaged by socio-economic circumstances.
Women of Purpose Trinidad and Tobago (WOPTT) is an NPO that is committed to empowering women and girls from all strata of society. We help women achieve menstrual equity, provide feminine care packages, educate and promote holistic development .We have also collaborated with other organizations with similar visions and understands that women need to also have options, including cloth pads, menstrual underwear and menstrual cups. So although growing up I thought using cloth was bad , it turns out it was better for me. :)
We also launched our first project called 'ALL ABOUT M.E.' This project aims to inform and educate on menstrual product safety, options and barriers.
We continue to ring the bell for our sisters and hope in the future to break barriers and the stigma associated with speaking and understanding periods.