Pad-ern of Change
Pad-ern of Change
- 1 Article
Pad-ern Of Change
“Think globally and act locally” is a motto that everyone should live by in order to make change become a reality. We were assigned by our teacher to set a goal for changing a global issue on a local level, and we chose to provide women and girls, especially those with financial struggles or those living in underdeveloped areas, with increased access to sanitary products. This is a deep-rooted issue not only in America, but all over the world. Specifically, this is an issue in our community, because of our high homelessness rates per capita. According to the Denver Post in December of 2017, Colorado homelessness rates rose 4% between 2016 and 2017, and our county is not exempt from this trend. Access to feminine hygiene products can be very difficult for homeless women, and when we learned of both our county’s high homelessness rates, and this lack of proper access to products that are necessary to women’s and girl’s health, we felt compelled to make a change. We have started to make a change by researching more specifically how this issue affects people in our community. First, we planned to write emails to our legislators to ask for their assistance in helping the homeless population gain access to sanitary products, and to ask about the possibility of reducing or removing the tax on tampons, since this is another hindrance for women in poor financial situations. We initially planned to raise money through a car wash or bake sale, and to send that money to organizations in our community that help women around the world, but later realized that the most effective route would be to sponsor an information campaign and to collaborate with local organizations to help our local homeless population.
This process has, as of right now, been a tremendous learning experience for us. A lot of our aspirations are pretty lofty, and certainly not goals that we can accomplish on our own, forcing us to branch out to professionals who could guide us. “Force” is a term used lightly, because these interactions have not only been extremely helpful for reaching our goals of changing the status quo, but they have also taught us more about communication and professionalism than we could ever learn in a traditional classroom setting. Time-management and prompt replies have been at the forefront of the skills we have needed, and these have also created challenges as we’ve tried to set up meetings with a local expert on distributing feminine hygiene products, and with our Representative in the Colorado House of Representatives. Despite some logistical challenges, nearly every professional we’ve contacted has been friendly and willing to lend his or her expertise for the good of the cause, and has further encouraged us to pursue more universal access to feminine hygiene products in our community.
We have not completed all of our plans on acting locally quite yet, but we have committed ourselves to helping to solve this problem in a sustainable way, even when class ends and this assignment is complete. What we have accomplished so far is emailing our local state representatives, our state senators, and our city council about legislative action that could be taken. We only received a reply from our local representative in the Colorado House of Representatives, Jim Wilson. Due to scheduling problems, we were only able to do a phone interview, but he provided us with details on Colorado legislation dealing with removing the sales tax from feminine hygiene products and other alternative actions that could be taken. Representative Wilson was very encouraging, and eager to help us meet our goal and positively impact our community. He was extremely helpful, and we will be employing some of his ideas in the future, for example, connecting our local shelter with any army surplus of feminine hygiene products. We were also able to meet up with a woman in our community who makes sanitary bags to provide for the Fremont County community, as well as developing communities. She was very excited about our project as well, and provided us with the contact information of several other individuals in the community who would be happy to help us. She also gave us information on how to apply for grants through some of the local service clubs, which was an idea we hadn’t thought of. We plan on working with our local homeless shelters to help provide sanitary products for homeless women in our community, as well as employing an information campaign to educate people on this issue and to destigmatize menstruation and reproductive health. This campaign will take place in the community as well as our high school, and this has been, by far, the idea that has received the most support. Simply educating our community will surely have a profound impact on how we view the issue of access to sanitary products, and by destroying the taboo around reproductive health, we can make it easier for women and girls to receive the help they need. We, as a group, have maintained a strong level of passion and enthusiasm for contributing to women’s and girl’s access to feminine hygiene products, and our appreciation for those who are already working towards this goal has increased exponentially. Moving forward, we have promised to always be a part of the solution to this global issue, and we hope you will join us.