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Salvation Army sanitary pad headed to Samoa

The Salvation Army church in Samoa will be part of a project to give away reusable sanitary pads to women suffering from so-called "period poverty" across the Pacific. 

The project includes Salvation Army funding toward a $10,000 goal to pay for sewing groups in the Pacific to make reusable sanitary pads.

Responding to questions from the Samoa Observer, the church's Regional Officer, Jenny Carey, said the project is still in its earlier stages but it will eventually reach Samoa.

"The project is only being launched in New Zealand this month and will filter through to the Pacific later in the year when funds become available and reusable products are made," she said. 

On TVNZ, Major Debbie Clark said Salvation Army churches in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa have mentioned that women sometimes struggle to afford expensive imported sanitary products, while many who live in isolated areas have difficulty accessing them. 

"Women and girls are missing out on school and work, and other things because of it, and that affects them economically, and affects their education.

"What tends to happen is people just use what's available to them to get through that time of month, and sometimes that's not particularly hygienic, and not particularly safe.

"They tend to sink into the background when they have their periods, and they don't get to live fulfilled lives, and I think that's something we want for every woman around the world - that just because we're women, we don't have to suffer at certain times of the month, but that we can live confidently." 

Clark said the idea came about after public discussion and awareness of period poverty in New Zealand, which prompted church staff here to ask if it was also an issue in Pacific Island countries. 

"Our leaders there do see it as an issue, and they were excited to think we could do this to help them. And from my own experience living there I think it is a real problem - but it's not something that's talked about too much, because it is personal and it can be a bit culturally sensitive as well," she said.

"But the more we talk about it, the more open we are to talking about it, and I think that's what's happened in New Zealand there's a lot of publicity about period poverty now, and I hope that's something we can do for the Pacific Islands through what we do in the Salvation Army, that people can be a bit more open about it, and share what their needs are."

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