Taking action in focus: Share the Dignity

#VicSRCvoices is a rolling series driven by the stories and experiences of student representatives. It’s about who we are; what we value; what drives us to act; and what fuels our passions to advocate for what we believe in. This month  we hear from VicSRC Exec member Shania Hallyburton who is taking action for women in need.

Share the Dignity

No woman should suffer the indignity of choosing between eating and buying sanitary items. I was completely shocked to hear that so many Australian women are, not only homeless, but have to face so many obstacles to issues that the majority of us take for granted. Like our monthly period. For these women it can be a traumatic and shameful experience. Many women, either homeless or in shelters, were having to clean themselves in public toilets and use paper towels to create makeshift sanitary pads. This is not ok.

My name is Shania Hallyburton and I’m a year 11 at Brauer College. Just a month ago I came across ‘Share the Dignity’ on Facebook. Upon reading about their views and beliefs, I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of this organisation; to help other women in need.

Share the Dignity is a non-for-profit organisation which had its first collection on 1st March 2015 where they had received a collection of over 500 packets of sanitary items that were further donated to charities helping women in need, and to the Vanuatu disaster relief. After just a few short months, this amazing organisation from Brisbane has turned into a national project, with more than 100 donation points in Victoria alone.  

The donations received are distributed to homeless women’s shelters, domestic violence shelters and to any women that are in risk or in need. We ensure that what is collected in each start is distributed within that state. A lot of the times when people donate toiletries to those who need them, pads and tampons, until now, have fallen under the radar; despite the fact that they are one of the biggest necessities for women dealing with their monthly menstruation. But we are charging this. We aim to share dignity all over Australia. 

Once I had been in contact with one of the head founders, I was asked if I would like to bring it down to my small town, in hope that my community would be just as accepting and giving. My job within this organisation was to approach businesses to be collection points. I am also a main collector for my area so I must collect all the donations from the businesses, and then present them to other charities and organisations within my community.

Sanitary items should be a RIGHT not a privilege.

My advice: if there is something you are passionate about, look around for a way that you can help make a difference. Whether that be fundraising or volunteering, your small contribution can have a great impact.  

Find out more about Share the Dignity

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