The months of July and August (yes we are only 5 days in!) have seen Periodical Diary further expand its reach via our successful donation drive and workshops. It has also seen us acquire further platforms to spread our message of period empowerment whilst supporting those in need.
It was therefore a pleasure to be featured in the Croydon Advertiser. Please take the time to read the article which explores our motivations and continued hopes for our initiative.
Remember you can support us here.
“They are literally using rags, women are being forced to choose between whether they will eat or if they will buy sanitary products.”
Social worker Elizabeth Folarin said she encounters women having to make this choice every day.
Shocked and appalled at the availability of sanitary products for women who come from low-income backgrounds, or who are homeless, the 32-year-old has partnered with her friend Karleen Jones, 37, to remove the stigma around periods and raise awareness of the problem.
Together, Elizabeth and Karleen have set up an online platform, Periodical Diary, that offers safe advice to women and are working with schools to educate young women and boys about menstruation.
Karleen, who lives in Pampisford Road, Purley, said: “No one is talking about periods, but everyone wants to know.”
The two women, who both work in social services, are self-funding this project and doing it in their spare time as they’re both so passionate about helping other women.
Mother-of-two Karleen said: “When you’re passionate about something, you don’t think about it being a drain on you financially or mentally.
“We want to be the number one resource for female empowerment.”
Elizabeth, from Bexley, added: “We are trying to be a support system for those who want information about periods and all the problems and complications that come with them.
“We’ve found that young girls are not getting the right sort of information that they need. We want to be able to provide this information in schools and online for women everywhere.”
Elizabeth said that while schools offer information about periods and changes in the body, this education does not go far enough in addressing the emotional and physical factors that come alongside it.
She said: “There’s a complete gap, there’s no mention of emotions or problems that can come with it.”
Both Karleen and Elizabeth said that often women and girls aren’t willing to speak openly about periods, and the potential health problems they can bring, and they are hoping to combat this.
This, they believe, stems from menstruation not being openly discussed in schools or at the family home enough.
Elizabeth said: “I am a social worker and I’ve worked with so many vulnerable women and there’s a massive shame about periods, some women don’t even have the money to buy sanitary products.
“They are literally using rags and cloths.”
Opening the dialogue, the two women are working with schools in Croydon, and across London, to educate boys and girls.
This includes workshops, talks and games and the response has been “amazing”, Karleen said.
As well as educating youngsters, they are also working to get donations of sanitary products, hand sanitiser and other feminine products to those in need.
Karleen said: “When you have to choose between buying sanitary products or food, you are going to choose to eat. For people living penny to penny it’s a real problem.”
Aiming to be the top service for advice, education and donations the two women have said they want to expand beyond London and into the rest of the UK.
Elizabeth said: “We want to work with the grass roots in schools, but also campaign politically about issues important to women, like the tampon tax.”
Photo Credit: David Cook