African and Caribbean Association of Nunavut fundraises for territory’s girls
Access to tampons and pads “should not be a privilege or luxury but a basic right”
The African and Caribbean Association of Nunavut wants to help girls and women in the territory cover the high cost of buying the feminine hygiene products they need.
Access to these products, such as tampons and pads, “should not be a privilege or luxury but a basic right,” said the association, which has launched an online fundraising campaign to raise money to buy the menstrual products.
Called “Free Sanitary Pads for Nunavut School Girls,” the online campaign aims to raise funds to buy and distribute packs of menstrual products to schoolgirls across Nunavut.
The African and Caribbean Association of Nunavut said the goal is to improve the current situation in Nunavut communities, which sees some adolescent girls miss school due to the high costs of buying pads and tampons.
“The missed school days have long term effects on Nunavut school girls’ education and their self-esteem. More so, missing classes often leads to the likelihood of dropping out of school hence leading to limited career options later in life,” said the association in a release.
“It is a fact that lack of access to affordable sanitary products is a global problem. However, we believe that we can make a difference by starting (at) home.”
The association, formed in March 2018, includes members who have come to Nunavut from various places, including Africa, the Caribbean and other regions.
The association said its mission is to organize activities “to celebrate and promote the diversity and inclusiveness of our communities, as well as raise awareness on our communities’ social needs and work together with other partners to combat them.”
After a change to Nutrition North subsidies this past August, feminine hygiene products are now subsidized when brought in by sealift.
But they are still more expensive than in southern Canada.
There have been other efforts to make essential menstrual supplies more accessible.
A Quebec-based group called Flo Collective said it wants create a customizable subscription service for northern communities so that tampons will no longer be so expensive.
And in the summer of 2018 a visitor to Iqaluit came bearing four hockey bags of menstrual products to give away.
This past May 28, Menstrual Health Day, the Government of Nunavut said communities are taking positive steps towards menstrual health by providing feminine hygiene products in schools to students.
For years, Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit has kept a well-stocked supply of feminine hygiene products in at least four different locations around the school. Students can also take these products home to ensure they have protection after the school day is over.