What is the Cambridge Period Project?
The Cambridge Period Project is a student led organisation which aims to reduce period product insecurity within the colleges at the University Of Cambridge, and within the local Cambridge Community. We emerged after the Sexual and Reproductive Health Subcommittee for Students for Global Health Cambridge began to explore the level of menstrual product provision and period product insecurity.
What does the Cambridge Period Project do?
Through a survey sent to JCR and MCR Women and Marginalised Genders officers, we found that the level of provision between colleges was disparate, with some colleges not providing free period products or keeping them in a locked cupboard which students can only gain access to by asking porters. After seeing the results of this survey, we concluded there is a clear need for improved hygiene infrastructure in the university, making period products free and accessible.
Alongside this, our subcommittee wanted to host a panel event raising awareness of Period Poverty in general. We came across StreetCramps, a charity providing boxes of period products to homeless people. We hosted a Q+A session with StreetCramps founder, Bimini Love. This was a productive conversation discussing some of the specific challenges faced by homeless people who menstruate, and the logistics of tackling this within a locality. We launched a crowd funder to start a Cambridge branch of StreetCramps, which raised over £200. We identified CHS (Cambridge Housing Service) as a community partner which would be able to distribute our boxes of period products to those who need them in Cambridge.
It was at this point that we decided to formalise The Cambridge Period Project as a campaign aiming to tackle period poverty in Cambridge – both in the university and the community. We launched our social media channels in late January, and began to plan how we would lobby the university to make period products free and widely accessible.
We believe Period Poverty should not have to be tackled reactionarily, or on a temporary basis. Limited access to period products can be solved by improving sanitary infrastructure, making period products more publicly and readily available. The financial burden of periods can be solved by making these newly accessible period products completely free. Therefore, we aim to set up self-sustaining systems whereby people are able to access period products easily, freely and permanently.