Press release

Published: 10 October 2021Last change: 17 October 2021

The municipality of The Hague, in collaboration with the Poverty Fund Foundation, recently started distributing free menstrual products at various locations in the city. Women and girls who do not have enough money to buy sanitary towels or tampons themselves can make use of this. Research shows that 1 in girls and women sometimes have no money for menstrual products.

Almost 1 on the women sometimes have (had) too little money to buy tampons or sanitary towels. It is extremely distressing that this problem exists in a rich country like the Netherlands, says Alderman Arjen Kapteijns (Social Affairs). Menstrual poverty is not only unsafe, but also very uncomfortable and sad. It would be great if this initiative could be followed nationally. The Poverty Fund buys the products and distributes them to the right locations in the city. These are the locations where resources are most needed. The municipality of The Hague is financing this pilot together with health insurer VGZ. This concerns 17 distribution points such as the Food Bank, Service PointsXL and locations of homeless shelters. In addition, thirteen secondary schools are participating.

Cas Ceulen, Cluster Leader Business Market at Coöperatie VGZ: ‘VGZ is working together with the Municipality of The Hague to improve financial, mental and physical health and prevention of care by focusing on prevention. Once again it shows how important this is, because % of girls and women sometimes have to save on sanitary towels and tampons. We find that unacceptable. The initiative of the municipality and the Poverty Fund Foundation is therefore really good and we are happy that we can contribute to this.Auxiliary organizations in The Hague happy with supportAuxiliary organizations respond enthusiastically to the initiative of the municipality.

Jorg Sunderman of Food Bank Haaglanden says: The people who come to us do not have enough budget to provide food. I can well imagine that buying sanitary towels is quite an expense, especially if you have about 7 euros per day to spend. International World Poverty DayOctober 17 is International World Poverty Day. A day where worldwide attention is paid to the eradication of poverty. The Poverty Fund is asking for extra attention this year for silent poverty. Poverty is not always visible. Certainly not in the Netherlands. For example, many children grow up in poverty, girls and women do not always have money for menstrual products and some of the elderly live in structural poverty.

There is a lot of ‘silent’ poverty: it is often not visible that people can no longer pay their rent or that children have to leave the house without breakfast. Poverty is more than a lack of money. It is a lack of perspective and possibilities. Poverty makes people feel excluded and causes stress. We cannot solve poverty in The Hague alone. That is why I am so very proud of this initiative, says alderman Kapteijns. Rural activities Poverty Fund The Poverty Fund Foundation now has more than 17 distribution points for free menstrual products in the Netherlands. The foundation notices that more and more municipalities are developing local policy on menstrual poverty.

The Municipality of The Hague is the first municipality with whom we have entered into a partnership to tackle the problem. As long as there is no national policy.

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