British student coordinates distribution of period products for Ukraine refugees

A British university student is among volunteers tackling period poverty among Ukrainian refugees.

Ella Lambert, 22 years old, coordinates distribution of thousands upon thousands of disposable pads in hospitals across the war-torn country and to refugee camp women.

The University of Bristol student founded the non-profit Pachamama Project – which provides period products to camps in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Uganda – after learning how to sew reusable pads over lockdown.

Since then, it has grown into a worldwide network of over 1,000 volunteers.

Ella Lambert (University of Bristol) was a student who started making reusable sanitary products to aid refugees.PA Media – Ella Lambert

Ms. Lambert distributed 1,000 pads at both the Global Expo and Ptak Expo centres in Warsaw this week. She then coordinated efforts to obtain a larger supply with Pads4Refugees (a Florida-based non profit run by Melissa Robel, 42).

Ms. Lambert spoke from Poland to the PA news agency. “The need for sanitary products is huge.

“Talking to the women and hearing their stories first hand, we know exactly how much people need them.

“You could say it’s the least of their worries, but if you’ve got people in the Metro station without products who are on their period, that’s a huge additional challenge to deal with when they are just trying to reach safety.

Ella Lambert coordinating the distribution of sanitary products in Warsaw, Poland (Ella Lambert/PA)University of Bristol student Ella Lambert coordinating the distribution of sanitary products for Ukrainian women in Warsaw, Poland (Ella Lambert/PA)

“They don’t have proper washing facilities so we are handing out disposable products.

“They also have a minimum amount of clothes, and if they bleed through them, that’s a terrible situation to be in.”

Ms Lambert stated that organisations that focus on feminine hygiene are necessary alongside general aid charities, as the stigma around periods can prevent some women accessing these products.

PA was told by the languages student from Chelmsford, Essex. “We were speaking to an organisation today who were in the Metro station and someone saw a pack of pads in their bag, and they whispered: ‘Do you mind if I have one?’

“They asked all her friends if they had pads, and none of them had any.

“It’s quite easy to go up to someone and say: ‘I could do with some food’, or: ‘I need a place to sleep’, but people don’t feel comfortable asking for sanitary products, especially if they’ve already bled through their clothes.

“It’s very dehumanising.

“I think it helps that we are a period poverty organisation, so I will introduce myself as that.”

Sanitary products being handed out in Warsaw refugee camps by British student Ella Lambert and her team (Ella Lambert/PA)British student Ella Lambert and her crew (Ella Lambert/PA), distribute sanitary products to Warsaw refugee camps.

The Pachamama Project, Pads4Refugees, and the Pachamama Project distributed 3,000 reusable pads this week to Lviv, Ukraine. They were also transported by the Yorghas Foundation, a Polish charity.

Miss Lambert stated that many women have been living in camps for several weeks because they want to return to Ukraine in safety. Therefore, there is a constant supply in border countries of essentials.

The women are paying for the pads through donations to a fundraiser, which can be accessed here – https://pads4refugees.org/

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