Bristol's netballers 50km run to fight period poverty

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By Charlotte Carver, Match Day Reporter

Period poverty is an issue that affects women across the globe. For those who do not know, it is when women and girls do not have access to sanitary products or a safe, hygienic place to use them. To contextualise, Plan International UK found that in the UK alone one in seven girls struggle to afford menstrual products. As you can imagine, women in war-torn countries and refugees elsewhere must also contend with period poverty on a regular basis.

In an effort to address this issue, the University of Bristol Netball Club have run a combined 50 kilometres in five days in aid of The Pachamama Project. They have so far raised an astounding £2311 for the charity.

Early in October, The Croft reported on the scheme, which was set up by University of Bristol student Ella Lambert during lockdown, and makes reusable sanitary pads to distribute to refugee camps.

The money raised from the 50km run, initiated by Lambert’s brother, Luke, and helped along by the Netball Club, will go towards buying materials for the sanitary products, running costs and distribution costs.

One of the main aims of The Pachamama Project is to provide women refugees with reusable sanitary products, allowing women to worry less about sourcing safe sanitary products every month.

The Pacha Pads will be delivered to the Moria refugee camp in Levsos, Greece following a trial distribution to refugees in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. The Moria camp recently burnt down, leaving more than 10,000 people without a safe place to live. Given the circumstances, the Pachamama Project is also helping to provide emergency aid for the camp in addition to the disposable sanitary products.

The money raised from the 50km run, initiated by Lambert’s brother, Luke, and helped along by the Netball Club, will go towards buying materials for the sanitary products, running costs and distribution costs. All these small things help to ensure the success of The Pachamama Project and therefore the health of women around the world.

University of Bristol Netball Club

Epigram spoke to the University of Bristol Netball Club Charity Sec, Sophie Rogers, about the 50km run the team are taking on. Rogers told us that the club were inspired to take part because ‘As the largest all-women performance sport at the university, we can hugely relate to the aims of The Pachamama Project.’ Rogers also felt that ‘Without access to safe sanitary products girls don’t only risk jeopardising their health, but also their education as many are forced to stay at home.’

Running 50km over the space of five days is obviously quite a task but ‘Lots of the girls have been keen to get involved and it’s lovely to see everyone sharing their running experience on Strava.’ said Rogers about the response from the rest of the Netball club.

Over lockdown, many of us had quite limited exercise opportunities, especially with team sports not being an option for such long time. Despite this ‘The running has been an excellent opportunity to increase our fitness, especially after months of limited netball training.’ explained Rogers when asked how the club were finding the challenge.

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She then went on to say that ‘Some days have been tough and the weather isn’t always on our side but it’s a great chance to get outside and get some fresh air, which I think is really important given that the majority of us have all our lectures online at home.’

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The Netball Club are doing a great job of supporting this very important cause, and there are things we can do to help as well. The Pachamama Project is open for anyone to get involved with. Those handy with a sewing machine are able to help produce the reusable sanitary pads by contacting thepachamamaproject@outlook.com for more information.

The less crafty amongst us can help with the fundraising side of things or help source materials for the project. Whether it is fundraising or constructing, the cause is a worthy one and has plenty of support from the society.

Featured Image: University of Bristol Netball Club

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