Hi I'm Donna
Hi everyone. Now that the launch is officially over and my hands have had a little break from the keyboard answering the hundreds of messages we have received, I thought it was time to introduce myself and talk a little about how the Melbourne Period Project came to be.
My name is Donna, I'm 47, I work full time and I have 5 sons. My youngest son J , aged 6, has autism and an intellectual disability. I grew up with an Uncle who had autism too. He was my favorite of all my Uncles and I have many. Because of my Uncles autism I was able to see what life was like for many people with autism when they become adults. Luckily my Uncle lived independently, J will most likely never do that. In knowing this, I also knew I needed to put steps into place for J so he is taken care of when we're gone.
But what about the people who had no one to take care of them? No parents and no family? No friends? I started to wonder what they did. I had always had a connection with homeless people but now with J, my eyes started to open up to the reality of what life could have been like for J when I was no longer here to take care of him. I really wanted to do something to help.
Working full time and looking after J's needs, I couldn't volunteer my time as a volunteer. I wanted to do something from home. I was in a conference in Sydney in March and decided to go for an early morning run. The sun had just come up and I went for a jog around Darling Harbour. There was a man sleeping on a bench with nothing but a thin blanket covering him. He was asleep and I didn't want to wake him because I knew that once he woke up he would feel just how cold he was. I wished I could give him a blanket.
When I got home I put a plan into action, scamming free time from friends who donated their skills and time to help get it started and only a few days later Blanket Melbourne came to life. I could run it from home but I could still make a huge difference. It was and still is an incredibly successful project and to date we have collected probably around 2000 items in total after only 8 weeks of running. Two days after Blanket Melbourne launched a friend sent me The Homeless Period web age. I had never thought about what homeless women did when they had their period. I vowed that when Blanket Melbourne was fully up and running, I would do something to help homeless women through their period.
I spent time talking to homeless outreach organisations, professionals in women's health and discussed the thought with friends. Then one day I saw a message pop up in a homeless support group I run. It was from Nat, and she asked if someone would listen to and idea she had. Sure! I volunteered to see what it was. Nat said she wanted to help homeless women by finding a way to provide sanitary products to them. I knew at that moment I had found the best person to help get this off the ground.
Only 3 days later, the Melbourne Period Project came to life and it has been one incredible start. I am so extremely happy with how well everyone has embraced the idea. Thank you all so much for our continuing support.