WHO ARE WE?
We are the first foundation in Poland whose main aim is to help people experiencing menstrual poverty.
Since 2019, we have been supporting those affected by menstrual poverty by providing those in need with access to free menstrual supplies (sanitary pads, tampons, reusable products such as cups and menstrual panties), as well as implementing educational and anti-periodic taboo activities.
WHAT IS MENSTRUAL POVERTY?
It is limited access to menstrual products, most often for economic reasons, but also the lack of adequate conditions necessary to take care of hygiene or education on perimenopausal topics.
According to a report by the Kulczyk Foundation (2020), this problem affects around 500 000 people in Poland. On the other hand, studies by Procter&Gamble (2021 and 2022) show that 1 in 10 students in the UK and 1 in 5 in the US have missed classes at least once due to lack of access to menstrual products.
ACTION MENSTRUATION’S TIMELINE
140,000 PLN for sub-programmes in schools
September 2020 saw the launch of the first edition of "Hey, girls!" (currently under the name "Menstruation Action in your school"). It was preceded by an extraordinary fundraising, which raised more than PLN 100,000 in a single weekend! Thanks to the incredible generosity of the supporters, we were able to provide access to free menstrual products to 300 schools across Poland!
"Does anyone know what the absolute cheapest sanitary pads on the market are? I have my period in a few days and £5 in my bank account."
This quote, heard on a Facebook group on 4 February 2021, prompted us to launch Padsharing, a periodic support network that connects Donors and people in need anonymously. With Padsharing, the Donor places and pays for an order for menstrual products according to the instructions of the person in need straight to their nearest Rossmann drugstore.
In June 2019, as part of the Rebels in Exempt from Theory programme, 4 high school girls created a community project called Menstruation Action to raise funds to purchase 1,000 menstrual cups for menstrual deprived Polish women. The collection was a success and already October 2019 saw the launch of a shipment that has transformed the lives of thousands of women across Poland.
Menstrual poverty exists
In February 2020, the first study on menstrual poverty in Poland was commissioned by the Kulczyk Foundation. It confirmed what we found out by talking to individuals and institutions - menstrual poverty does exist in Poland and is in fact at hand.
On 10 March 2020 Menstruation Action became a Foundation!
Periodic Assistance Point
On 1 July 2020, Poland's first Periodic Assistance Point, a publicly accessible locker from which anyone in need can take the menstrual supplies they need free of charge and anonymously, went to Krakow! Since then, white lockers regularly stocked with menstrual products by our volunteers have been appearing in public spaces all over Poland!
On 8 March 2021, we joined a group of initiatives and NGOs with a common goal - to tame period topics and fight menstrual poverty.
In March 2021, two of the Founding Mothers of Action were recognised on the prestigious Forbes and McKinsey&Company Office list: 25 Under 25. The aim of the project is to identify young and ambitious people who are actively changing the world! Emilia Kaczmarek and Julia Kaffka were the winners in the category Supporting Diversity.
Guidance on menstrual measures in schools
Why do it? How do you go about it? We decided to answer these questions by collecting our experiences and publishing the "Hey, girls!" Guidebook in both electronic and paper form. It is a comprehensive step-by-step guide that shows you how to introduce menstrual measures into your school yourself.
Menstruation Action at your school
On 15 July 2021, we announced the second edition of a programme that delivers free menstrual products to Polish schools for all learners! Because periods are not just a girl thing we decided to change the name of the project to a new, inclusive name - 'Menstruation Action at Your School'.
In July/August 2021, after months of conceptual work, testing and research, the following are being created seemingly simple white containers. We have created the first dedicated menstrual dispensers in Poland. The elegant design was created for companies and institutions that would like to introduce menstrual products into their toilets and can do so at their own expense, but lack the right 'tools' to do so.
That was all it took to collect a set of new schools for the Action Menstruation programme at your school for the 2021/22 school year. Such a torrent of applications none of us expected. The programme was able to start with a kick-start from the beginning of September thanks to the support of Strategic Partner Biedronka, which supplied schools with Femina brand menstrual products.
Working with the Labour Rights Team of the Consultative Council of the All-Poland Women's Strike, we began researching this mythical creature. The research included, and still includes, interviews with both working people and employers of working women across Poland.
In August 2022, after more than two years of operation, it was time for changes in the composition of the Foundation's Board of Directors, as well as the creation of a supervisory body in the form of the Supervisory Board. We met in a joint meeting of all those active in Action to include on the Board: Paula, Norbert, Julia and Kaja, and the Supervisory Board: Martina, Magda and Matilda.
Menstruation Action in your school 2022/23
Those watching us and hoping for our support managed to surprise us again! Once again, the reason for this surprise was the crowds with which more schools were enrolled in the Action Menstruation in Your School programme, which provides access to free menstrual products to students in schools across the country.
This was the title awarded to us by the City of Poznań for the public task 'Providing access to menstrual measures in schools - a pilot project for Poznań schools', which we implemented in the 2021/22 school year! It is an incredible joy every time our work is noticed and honoured!
Kampania “To nie TABU!”
W styczniu i lutym 2023 roku, przy wsparciu T-Mobile Polska oraz internetowych twórczyń takich jak Magda Mołek, przeprowadziłyśmy naszą największą (do tej pory) kampanię świadomościową na temat ubóstwa menstruacyjnego. Dzięki akcji powstało ponad 10 zbiórek środków menstruacyjnych, 5 nowych pomysłów na inicjatywy pomocowe, do naszego grona dołączyło ponad 20 wolontariuszek i wolontariuszy, a na naszych mediach społecznościowych pojawiło się ponad 1000 nowych obserwujących!
Projekt okresowej ustawy w Sejmie
14 czerwca 2023 roku razem z przedstawicielkami Okresowej Koalicji złożyłyśmy w Sejmie na ręce współpracujących z nami posłanek projekt ustawy dot. ogólnodostępnych środków menstruacyjnych w polskich szkołach. To pierwszy tego typu projekt i wielki krok w stronę systemowych narzędzi walki z ubóstwem menstruacyjnym.
4. edycja “Akcja Menstruacja w Twojej szkole”
We wrześniu 2023 roku miałyśmy wielki zaszczyt rozpocząć kolejną edycję naszego szkolnego programu, którego partnerem strategicznym ponownie zostały Biedronka i marka Femina. W tej edycji do współpracy udało się nam też zaprosić Fundację TkMaxx and Homesense oraz wielu lokalnych partnerów, za których wsparcie bardzo dziękujemy!
Dołącz i stwórz z nami kolejne rozdziały historii Akcji Menstruacji!
COMPOSITION OF THE FOUNDATION'S ORGANS
Board of the Foundation
President of Board
Vice President of Board
Member of Board
Member of Board
President of the Supervisory Board
Vice President of the Supervisory Board
Member of the Supervisory Board