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Help Share the DigniTEA

Olivia Afiabo and Emily Bales

“I asked myself, what would I do if I couldn’t afford pads and tampons?”

“How would that make me feel? I thought I would want to disappear from the shame, embarrassment and fear. The solution was so simple.”

Considering the difficulty faced by homeless and disenfranchised people when menstruating spurred ACT’s Share the Dignity Team Leader, Nikki Bensch, to do something about it.

“Through Share the Dignity, I’ve discovered the difference small acts of kindness can make. By donating one packet of pads or tampons, we are not only giving the gift of dignity, we are also saying to a vulnerable woman that we care about you, we support you and you are not alone.”

Share the Dignity is an Australia-wide organisation, founded and formed in Brisbane and now extending its reach to aid people in every state and territory across the country.

 Compassionate in its mission, Share the Dignity provides people who cannot afford or access the necessary sanitary items with an alternative to spending their limited resources on these products. All across the country, the organisation endeavours to ensure that people have the dignity they deserve.

Thanks to Share the Dignity’s impressive expansion, it is easy to get involved with the effort at a local level. This month, Canberrans will have their best opportunity to get involved and donate time, money or sanitary products.

A great way to help out Share the Dignity is by attending the Share the DigniTea High Tea, which will be held at 1 pm on Saturday 26 May at Rex Hotel in Braddon. All proceeds from the High Tea will go to Share the Dignity’s continued work to help people in need remain safe and healthy when they menstruate. Tickets for the event are $69 each or $650 for a table of 10, and includes high tea as well as a glass of wine on arrival.

The High Tea will be an afternoon of fun for a good cause, featuring guest speakers and the chance to win amazing raffle prizes. Share The Dignity’s signature Handbags with Heart will be for sale on the day, as well as other exclusive merchandise. Ticket sales close 10 May.

As well as providing refuges around Canberra with sanitary products, Share the Dignity installed its very first Dignity Vending Machine here. Located at Barnardos Childrens Family Centre in Downer, the machine dispenses free sanitary product packs.

“We realised we needed another method to reach homeless women, and women at risk of homelessness, when we understood that not all women accessed support services,” Nikki says.

“There are many women in our community who are on the verge of homelessness. These are women who are sleeping in their cars and who are getting up the next day and going to work. They are women who are using all of their resources to put food on the table for their kids, and will sacrifice their own needs. There are women who might feel embarrassed and ashamed asking for free sanitary items.”

“To reach these women, we needed to develop a way of providing discreet access to free sanitary items. Our Dignity Vending Machines will provide these women with private access to free sanitary items.” For more updates about the Dignity Vending Machine, check the Share the Dignity website.

“We have started a movement,” explains Nikki. “It’s a movement with dignity and compassion at its core. Where small acts of kindness are significant and where we dare to dream about making a significant difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable women in our community.”

Find more information about how you can help and the High Tea here

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Olivia Afiabo

Olivia grew up in Canberra before moving off to Wollongong to study creative writing at the University of Wollongong. After receiving a Bachelor’s of Creative Arts degree she returned to the Capital to pursue a career in writing and publishing. The first step in this journey has been interning at HerCanberra and, though she misses the beach, being back with family and old friends has been a welcome change. There’s nothing she loves more than reading, writing and watching football (the ‘no hands allowed’ variety). More about the Author