Bel Garza introduces us to her amazing charity project Her.Period which spreads vital information regarding the need for menstrual supplies for those less fortunate around the world. She speaks to us about Her.Period and some of the positive period art which it's become known for.
Art by Sonia Lazo
"I never gave much thought to menstrual supplies. They were always within reach - worse case I would have to venture out to purchase a new box late at night, in an 'emergency'. That was it. Then, in 2016, I was introduced to the director of a local shelter, outside of Houston, who brought up the lack of sanitary supplies for people living on the street. Tampons, pads, and menstrual cups are expensive. Yet without clean sanitary supplies, those who menstruate suffer from needless shame, struggle, and risk of infection or disease. Homeless adults and teens, of all genders, need our help. With the help of a few friends, I started putting together donations and emergency kits for the shelter. Most importantly, I have found a way to use my voice to spread the word about the need for affordable, or free, sanitary supplies for those less fortunate. Today, I'm proud to say that Her.Period is home to the first and only International Directory of Giving, a list of groups that help with menstrual supplies for the homeless and work to break the taboo of menstruation. I hope Her.Period can provide a starting point for the thousands of people who want to help but do not know where to start.
I started the Instagram account as a way to increase donations on a local level, but soon discovered it was too much to ask that people mail boxes of supplies all the way to Texas. However, I saw a way to spread a period-positive message and encourage donations on a local level, all around the world, through the work of some amazing artists. There are many reasons these artists do what they do. Some show oppression in their country or fight the high cost of 'tampon tax'. Others want to work through their own struggles with painful periods, endometriosis, miscarriage, or even menopause. Each piece, whether it is a painting, ceramics, paper craft, carving, stained glass, or embroidery is made from the heart. I think that is why they touch so many. It's through us sharing this art that Her.Period has gotten the attention of companies like LickStarter, who have sent large donations to our group. These artists have also made our website, and the International Directory of Giving, such a relevant tool. I have had a chance to collaborate with impressive, game-changing women, such as Dr. Jessica Zucker of the #ihadamiscarriage Project. Coming up - we are in the process of collaborating with photographer and artist, Anna Michel of the Meringue Project, an innovative photography project using meringue to open up discussion about stereotypes and myths of the female genitals. She will be showing her art in Houston in the spring of 2018 for Fotofest.
In the end, we are so pleased to get these conversations started, hopefully making someone's day, and ultimately, we never lose site of our goal to remind our followers to donate menstrual supplies to their local shelter.
Together, we can end the struggle for menstrual supplies, one period at a time!"
Art by Sarah Naqvi
Art by Die Menstruationsbeauftragte
Art by Katriona Pritchard
Art by Amy Oliver
Art by Linda Weissman
Art by Devon Urquhart
Art by Laurie Melia
Art by The Meringue Project