Ella Daish is an activist and campaigner against period poverty, and recently launched a campaign to help Changing Lives by providing our projects with eco-friendly period products, in partnership with the Ethical Superstore.
We caught up with Ella to find out more about her work as an activist and why she set up this campaign.
Changing Lives: Hi Ella, not everyone may know what period poverty is – can you explain what it is and why it matters?
Ella Daish: Period poverty wrongly affects so many, in fact according to Plan UK 1 in 10 girls between the ages of 14-21 cannot afford menstrual products and a shocking 137,000 have missed school because of this. It does not only impact those at school, it also affects those that are experiencing homelessness, refugees and those who simply cannot afford them. It matters as no one should be missing out on their education, opportunities or be impacted in any way because they cannot afford the essentials they need.
CL: When did you decide to set up the campaign and what prompted you to do so?
ED: Since I started my petition to make all menstrual products plastic free in 2018, I have become aware of just how many issues there are surrounding menstruation, including period poverty, through the fantastic work that inspiring individuals and groups are doing in this area like Amika George, The Red Box Project and Freedom 4 Girls.
I was saddened by the thought of how many individuals and families were being affected by period poverty, it should not exist in the 21st century, which is why I launched the Eco Period Box! Initially it started as a reverse advent calendar at Christmas in 2018, then in 2019 twenty shops across the UK and Ireland got involved by having a box in-store as a donation station, with everything collected being given to a local charity, to help support people in the community.
I set up the Eco Period Box to address period poverty in a way that I feel truly benefits all, eco-friendly period products and reusables are not only better for the people using them, but also the planet! I also believe that everyone, no matter their situation, deserves a choice in what they use.
CL: What are you hoping the campaign will achieve?
ED: I hope that the Eco Period Box will lead to more conversations being started about period poverty, help to encourage more people to help tackle it in a positive way by donating eco-friendly products and that it will support people and communities far and wide.
CL: We’re really pleased you are supporting us here at Changing Lives. Can you tell us why you picked our projects as the recipient for the donated eco-friendly boxes?
ED: When I was searching for charities to receive the online Eco Period Box donations, I was looking for one local to the Ethical Superstore HQ in Gateshead and one where the donations would be distributed to benefit as many people and communities as possible.
I came across the fantastic [work you’re doing and thought you] were the perfect fit. Not only are you headquartered in Gateshead, but you support over 17,000 people and 100 projects across the North East and Midlands every single year from women’s to homeless services and everything in between. I am incredibly proud to be able to support such an incredible charity with the Eco Period Box and even more so during the current strange and uncertain situation that we find ourselves in today.