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Collecting pads and tampons for women in need
Birthdays are that one special day a year when everyone celebrates you! You, the birthday boy or girl. For four sisters from Fresno, their special days this year were an opportunity to help women out during that time of the month. Instead of asking for presents, Socheath, Sorany, Sotheary and Sovanny decided to hold a collection drive for feminine hygiene products, hoping to give to women and girls in need the most simple gift of all: the ability to manage their menstrual cycles.
“People tend to think of food, water, and even clothes on their go-to donation list. Yes, those are incredibly important, but feminine hygiene products are usually nowhere near the top of that. For as common and normal as menstruation is, it’s sad to see how little it’s taken into consideration in donations.” – Sovanny
Although still very much a taboo topic of conversation, there’s been lot of talk recently about periods. The tampon tax has been debated in the news. And social media is full of posts about collection drives and menstrual inequality awareness campaigns going on around the world. After deciding they wanted to give instead of get for their birthdays, the sisters — being women, after all — resolved to bring Fresno’s focus to the feminine with their drive.
“Women’s periods don’t magically disappear just because we don’t talk about it. So let’s talk about it.” – Socheath
Spanning the five-week period from early September to mid October when the sisters were born, the collection drive aims to gather 111 packages of pads and tampons for girls and women at the Fresno Rescue Mission. Why 111? That is the sisters’ cumulative age (Sovanny turned 19 on Sept. 7, Sotheary turned 25 on Sept. 16, Sorany turned 32 on Sept. 30, and Socheath will turn 35 on Oct. 14). But after adding a second organization, the Renaissance Scholars program at Fresno State, to the recipient list, and receiving more donations than expected, they’ve tripled their goal. The deadline, however, remains the same. With less than a week to go, they’re hoping to reach their new goal of collecting 333 boxes of pads and tampons.
“I think that with every year that passes we realize that there are only so many different possessions that you can gift or trade with your sisters. You become more humble and understand that growing older changes you and what you find to be important. We are blessed to have all the things that we need and want, so what can we do to help others?” – Sorany
Check out the video below to hear second youngest sis, Sotheary, talk about how the idea for the collection drive came together, the special bond the sisters have, and how not only women, but men, have supported their effort (i.e. gone to the store and bought tampons and pads)!