Published: 29th June 2020
How 26-year-old Deane is raising funds to provide sanitary napkins to the underprivileged during the pandemic
Deane De Menezes is aiming to reduce period poverty during the pandemic through her action group Red Is the New Green. This is why they're making a huge difference
The day had been utterly stressful. Work seemed to pile up and you felt yourself stressing over it. Just when you thought that the day couldn't get any worse, you found out that you got your period, unexpectedly. It wasn't that time of the month and you did not have a pad or tampon with you. A lot of you who are reading this could possibly relate easily to this nightmare. We have all encountered this at some point(s).
But did it stop your day?
"A lot of us would have looked for alternatives. But for many, this is a huge hurdle, leading them to miss out on a lot of opportunities in their lives," says Deane De Menezes, the founder of an action group called Red Is The New Green. In fact, one such occasion was what led her to start RING, which aims to end what they describe as 'period poverty', besides tackle stigma and encourage sustainable menstruation.
Deane and RING have now taken up an initiative called Pass on the pad and have been raising funds to distribute sanitary napkins to the underprivileged of Mumbai, making sure that they have a safe period, especially during the pandemic time. "When COVID hit, there was a huge lack of access to sanitary products. People were facing a shortage and that was when we thought of starting the Pass on the pas campaign. Through this, we are trying to reach 10,000 people in Mumbai, so that they have access to safe periods during this time," says this 26-year-old. She tells us how RING reached and helped out its NGO partners to identify the potential donors and beneficiaries. "We got in touch with donors who helped us get the funds and we supplied the napkins. It all happened so quickly," she says.
Deane now plans to scale it up and help out more menstruating people. As part of it, along with a few celebrities, influencers, comedians and musicians, she recently conducted a virtual event called 'Period Party', "The period party was a fundraising event. I would like to thank all of these wonderful people who took ut their time to create content for this," she says. A few participants here were comedian Abish Mathew, journalist Faye D'Souza and wellness instructor Natasha Noel.
Deane tells us how accessing menstrual hygiene products was a real difficulty during the lockdown. "Menstrual hygiene products were not listed in the initial essential item list during the lockdown. It was added only four days later after there was an outcry," she says. "As a country, we can do so much better for our people. These are basic products and are essential. They are not luxury items. We must be more inclusive when it comes to policy," she says, reminding us that periods do not stop during a pandemic.
The response to the campaign was indeed heartwarming for Deane. "A lot of people thanked us for remembering this necessity. Without sanitary napkins, they were forced to depend on clothes, which was again difficult, owing to a lack of access to clean water," she says. Now, why did Deane and her team distribute sanitary napkins and not resort to sustainable alternatives like menstrual cups? She says, "It is unfair to distribute a product without a guideline that explains to them how to use it. Hence, we thought it was a wise choice to stick to sanitary napkins," she says.
Check out her crowdfunding campaign here: https://www.impactguru.com/fundraiser/help-red-is-the-new-green