By Kayla Sosa
All women know the constant struggle that is the menstrual cycle and the monthly expense of having to buy pads, tampons and other reproductive health products; and, there are many women and girls in our community for whom this expense is out of reach.
Be A Rose, Inc., founded and run by Christine N. Mwangi, is a nonprofit with a mission to provide health and wellness education and free menstrual hygiene products to underserved women and girls in Grand Rapids.
“Period poverty is a situation where a person does not have access to traditional products such as pads, tampons or panty liners to manage menstruation,” Mwangi said. “In addition, the person can’t socially and culturally afford to tell anyone about these barriers to period management because of the stigma surrounding menstruation. If someone can’t afford food, they can’t afford sanitary protection.”
Monthly, the organization distributes hundreds of menstrual products and teaches workshops on reproductive health, menstruation, hygiene products, female genital mutilation, pain management remedies and menopause. Additionally, they are eco-friendly and provide free cloth pads and menstrual cups to those in need.
This month, on Jan. 4, Be A Rose is hosting an event called “Women Everywhere” at The Pyramid Scheme (68 Commerce Avenue SW ) to raise funds for their mission and generate awareness of period poverty. The event is 21+ and features a stellar line-up of local women musicians, including, The QUIRK, Carmel Liburdi, Emma Loo and Maggie May.
For the future, Mwangi said she wants to continue to broaden the impact of Be A Rose.
“We want to work more with the LGBTQ+ community to expand the reach of our services,” she expressed. “and to continue advocacy for eco-friendly products and expand our distribution of cloth pads and DivaCup menstrual cups and expand our community impact through our YouTube channel and highlight the stories of local people with real struggles managing menstruation and discuss local solutions.”
For more information, visit bearose.org.
What: Be a Rose Presents: Women Everywhere
When: Jan. 4. Doors at 8:30 pm
Where: The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Avenue SW