Periods can be a challenge for any woman–but for homeless woman, they can be devastating. Without access to feminine-hygiene products, nowhere reliable to keep items for later use and extremely limited resources; women often have nowhere to turn. One Portland teen is trying to change that by providing homeless girls and women with feminine-hygiene products. Read below to learn more about Camions of Care, and remember to do what you can to reach out to one another–because no one should suffer for stigma.
allure.com – When you get your period, you probably know where you’re going to get tampons or pads. For homeless women, basic feminine-hygiene products are harder to come by. Camions of Care, a nonprofit organization founded by Nadya Okamoto, an 18-year-old from Portland, Oregon, is hoping to change that. (If you’re curious, a camion is sturdy cart or wagon designed for bulky loads.) So far, Okamoto and her organization have helped deliver 27,243 period care packages to women and girls in need all over the world.
When Okamoto was 15, her family was declared legally homeless. During that time, she was living at a friend’s house two hours from her school. During her commute, she tells Allure that she’d encounter underserved women who didn’t have reliable access to feminine-hygiene products. Because shelters can’t keep up with the demand for tampons and pads, the women would get industrious, using newspaper, socks, and brown paper grocery bags instead. “What scared me was that it made so much sense. You can find [brown paper grocery bags] anywhere around Portland,” Okamoto says. “But it’s so unsanitary because women were getting these bags from recycling bins or trash cans.” Besides being stressful and ineffective, nonsterile alternatives could lead to dangerous infections and toxic shock syndrome .