I’m very happy to be a part of the Red Dot Project Toronto. I feel that it is very important for all menstruators to have easy access to menstrual supplies. This is challenging for people who are without housing, who are not able to access menstrual supplies which create stressors every month. Menstruators should be able to use menstrual supplies in a healthy and clean way during their menstrual cycle. Menstrual supplies are a necessity of basic needs and should not be a challenge for anyone who menstruates to have access to safe products.
The idea of starting this project came from one of my professors, Phillip Jang. Usually when we think of homeless women, or anyone who identifies as a woman, we only think of their basic needs. food, clothing, and shelter. No one actually thinks of the hardship a homeless woman deals with when having her period and how she copes with it. For me, this project is important because to provide these care kits to women, is not just about providing them with a necessity, but also to help them keep their dignity.
As social service work students, we learn a lot about marginalized populations, such as individuals experiencing homelessness, and what we can do to help. However, it is rare that a solution is as straightforward and has such a direct impact as Red Dot Project. Females experiencing homelessness have periods too, and often lack the means and supplies to manage them in a dignified, safe, and hygienic way. For us, the solution was simple—provide women with a kit containing all the supplies they need to manage their period for one month. Providing these supplies has a direct impact on the quality of life of a female experiencing homelessness, and the way they feel about themselves, even if it is a small one. This is what makes me so proud to be part of Red Dot Project. It is my hope that our organization will continue to grow and have an even bigger impact on the lives of this population.
Working on a project such as Red Dot Project continues to be an incredibly rewarding experience every single day. To tackle a problem, that so few even think to discuss, is of fundamental importance to the rights I believe every human being should entitled to. To be able to have a part in such a special project, is an opportunity I am grateful to have.
A student in my Field Placement Seminar class told me about a situation at her placement (a residence for homeless youth) where a service user was only provided with tampons even though she requested pads. The thought that a woman who was unable to manage her period in the manner she chooses felt wrong. Giving women experiencing homelessness the opportunity to manage their periods should be a right. Shortly after I came across a video about the work that Nadya Okamoto was doing with Camions of Care (now PERIOD). Knowing it can be done, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Having what you need to manage your period should not be a privilege, it needs to be a right.
Assistant Fundraising Coordinator
What was your first period like? Did you have to use old socks, serviettes or dirty towels to help you? Some people don’t have a choice in what they can use to help them during their period. Period poverty is a real thing and more and more humans are getting affected by it. Period poverty isn’t going to go away in a day or even a year, but step by step it can improve. I am very excited to be apart of this organization to normalize period talk and get one step closer to eliminating period poverty.
Having the pleasure of working with the Red Dot Project has not only shed more light on some of the challenges that menstruators experiencing homelessness face, but has also brought awareness to stigmas around menstruation that are present to different areas all over the world. Menstruation is a natural bodily process that I believe should be embraced and celebrated, rather than stigmatized. I believe that having the ability to manage your periods safely is a human right that all beings deserve, but it is often overlooked. I look forward to working more with the Red Dot Project; whether it’s through monthly distribution of menstrual supplies, blog posts, or events that can raise conversation and help put an end to period poverty.
Toronto had been home for many years of my life; however, I had been ignorant to issues that are existent and continue to be unrecognized by many individuals, such as, how menstruators experiencing homelessness aren't always able to manage their period in a safe and hygienic way. I reckon such ignorance was due to my limited knowing’s, this issue perhaps greatly neglected due to the little knowing’s our community has been exposed to. Over the year I have gained knowledge encircling such issue and have shared great interest in wishing to work toward making a change in the world, making a step forward with the Red Dot Project right at home.
I believe every menstruator should have the right to have a safe and hygienic period. Having access to menstrual products is extremely important and should be a human right. At the Red Dot Project it is evident that their mission is to support individuals experiencing homelessness who are menstruating and that they care about their safety, having access to supplies and raising awareness. I am excited for this journey of ending period poverty and having open dialogue about periods!