A Chat with The Period Place's Danika Revell

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The Period Place Beginnings

The Period Place (TPP) started as Instagram and Facebook pages shouting in the void about period poverty in Aotearoa and demanding something be done about it. It grew quickly from a side project between two friends on maternity leave to a nationwide charity that worked to address the very thing the pages had originally been shouting about - eliminating period poverty from Aotearoa.

After spending 6 months meeting with cross-sector stakeholders, it was suggested that we should become a registered charity, a concept we had not even considered. Soon afterwards, The Period Place was a legally registered charity providing 1-1 support to people who reached out to us online, and donating menstrual health brochures and period products around Auckland by the truckload. We also began supporting schools supplying period products to them to help keep girls in class and learning. Period poverty has a drastic impact on girls' education in Aotearoa. Very quickly we grew into a nationwide charity, replicating what we were doing in Auckland, at scale.

What keeps you going?

We’ve been involved in some big stuff that is out there and known. For me, it comes down a lot to those 1-1 moments. Here's an example. We got feedback about a teen who has a physical disability that we had supported to get access to adaptive period underwear (underwear with velcro) to manage her whole period. The feedback didn’t just talk about how the underwear was doing its job, but importantly, how empowering this simple product has been for her. For the first time in her life, she was able to manage using period products by herself for her own period. She didn’t need someone else to stick pads in her underwear, or slide them up and down for her - she was able to do everything herself.  Moments like that are truly empowering and keep me going.

Move to Te Whiriwhiringa The Nest

The opportunity to move into Te Whiriwhiringa The Nest came about through a connection of a connection who had spoken to Jane Treadwell-Hoye. Jane and I connected and she invited me to come and take a look around.

Being in Te Whiriwhiringa The Nest has provided The Period Place stability, as an organisation and to the team, in ways that were unexpected. It has helped ease my mental load of operational things. Not having to worry about dishwashing liquid or toilet paper sounds simple enough, but when you’re spinning so many plates they just take up mental space that’s not spare. My mind has freed up and I can fully focus on the mahi, and more on my team and their development. The ability to have our dedicated desks and be able to book and use different meeting rooms has brought creativity back into TPP. We deliberately book different rooms to harness the different energy we feel in each of those rooms.

While we are not working directly with the other residents at the moment, we know that we are surrounded by others who have the same value systems and align with the type of world we want to see. It helps a lot on those low days when you can look up and see there are others with sharedexperiences.  There is a relaxed camaraderie between us all across the floor. It’s a bloody good vibe in here.

Final Thoughts

We have to see more leadership from the Government on women’s health. The incoming Women’s Health Strategy (WHS) cannot just be written as a framework.  It must be created as a key piece of work that will be carried over by future Governments and is resourced and funded from the beginning across every facet. So many people do so much great mahi in all the spaces in and around women’s health, but there is nothing that brings it all together and so much of the work is siloed. The WHS is the first real chance that Aotearoa has at that level to bring about real change, and I hope those in power are brave enough to do what they know they need to.

Nischal Chakravarthy
21 December 2023
min read

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