A Q&A with Eric Omondi, Founder of ASHWA

A Q&A with Eric Omondi, Founder of ASHWA

Our Chief Operating Manager sat down with Eric Omondi, Founder of the Alliance of Sustainable Health and Wealth in Africa to discuss how ASHWA came to be and find out more about the need for reusable menstrual products and associated education in Uganda.

Putting Potty Training into Perspective

Putting Potty Training into Perspective

Without a doubt, there are culturally significant potty-training practices that may differ from mine, but no mom wants their toddler to sit in poopy pants while traversing ocean currents just to survive.

      New Country Launch   Megan Beck, CoFounder and Chief Operating Officer.   Last week, Monday 24th July, I shared why The Unmentionables’ senior leadership started providing “Dignity Through Hygiene” in Greece, of all places. Today, on behalf of our Board of Directors, I’m elated to announce that we are expanding to a second country… Uganda!  You’re hearing from the pioneer scout, who has the privilege of representing The Unmentionables in Uganda this month. For one month, I’ll be in-country developing a strategic plan to adapt our smart aid model to an entirely new continent, system, refugee crisis, culture, and context.   Why Uganda?    Overwhelming Magnitude     Uganda hosts more refugees than any other African country. Most recent numbers count over 1.3 million people from 13 countries.  Recent days have seen over 3,000 people cross into Uganda on a single day.  It accepts more refugees than those granted asylum by the whole of Europe in 2016.  The largest refugee camp in the world, Bidibidi, hosts 270,000 people.   Vulnerable Children   Inside South Sudan, more than one thousand children have been killed or injured since the conflict first erupted in 2013, while an estimated 1.14 million children have been internally displaced.  Nearly one in five children in South Sudan has been forced to flee their home.  Nearly three quarters of the country's children are out of school - the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world   Missing Resources   UNICEF's appeal for South Sudanese refugees in the region - which calls for US$181 million to address the acute needs of refugees until the end of the year - is currently only 52 per cent funded.  The UNHCR funding appeal for South Sudan of US$ 781.8 million is only 11 per cent funded.  While the national Ugandan government leads the world in comprehensive, inclusive refugee rights policies (including land parcels, healthcare, education and work access), an exodus fueled by what many are calling genocide in South Sudan, strains a system now serving double the refugees it served last year.   This is where we come in, and why I’m spending August building partnerships there. Our approach to serving people is collaboration-centric, so I’ll be meeting with:   Regional product suppliers: to continue our commitment in supporting local economies over-burdened by influx of displaced people.  Like-minded organizations: to flesh out resource mapping, learn from the experts, and develop best practices.  Political entities: we’re scrappy and creative, but adhering to legal limitations within the political system maximizes our impact.  Transportation leaders: thousands of undies can’t be levitated (really hoping I get an email from a devoted magician claiming otherwise), so we need multiple strategies to maximize time and budget.  Leaders within the refugee community: dignity through hygiene takes many forms, and we won’t provide resources without hearing from the populations we serve on what they want and need most.   This is just the beginning.  Join us  as we plan to equip thousands who are still fleeing famine, war crimes, torture, rape, burned homes and property, and indiscriminate killings.           If you're interested in finding out more about the refugee crisis in Uganda here is a useful reference: http://www.refworld.org/country,,UNHCR,,UGA,,5911a88c4,0.html

The Unmentionables' CoFounder and Chief Operating Officer shares exciting news on our expansion into Uganda. Find out why and how we are hoping to help the thousands of refugees there.

Why Greece?

Why Greece?

Our CoFounder and Chief Operating Officer shares the mission behind operating in Greece, as a lead up to sharing exciting organizational news about our new projects!

Q&A with The Unmentionables’ Co-Founder Kaleigh Heard

Q&A with The Unmentionables’ Co-Founder Kaleigh Heard

During one of our biggest distribution trips to date, The Unmentionables' CEO and Co-Founder Kaleigh Heard answers some questions about our work in Greece, newly launched programs and projects to expand.

Why Menstruation Matters

Why Menstruation Matters

Stigmas and myths about menstruation are global and diversified but follow a simple theme: periods are dirty and shameful. It is not only the women and girls directly affected by these stigmas that suffer but equally their community. Stigmas around menstruation affect education and thus employment levels of women and girls that ultimately impact the whole community. #MenstruationMatters and education is the first step.

      Life Before I Was a Refugee    
  
 
  
    
  
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   Jaz O'Hara, Founder of  The Worldwide Tribe ,   an organization that uses creative storytelling to bring a personal, human perspective to the issues that people want to know about, while investing in grassroots projects that make a direct difference to the lives of those in need.      
  
 
  
    
  
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    Having spent time in a refugee camp in the port of Athens, we asked some of the people we met what they did before they were labelled a ‘refugee’ and put together this film.        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"         Our producer  Megan Majd  would like to introduce you to the people in this film:  “The man with the blue glasses is from Afghanistan. He lost his entire family and started crying to us as we interviewed him. As I was walking away he told me to wait and pulled out a big floppy hat from the back of his tent for me. He made sure I took it and wore it because it was a hot day.  The young girl is only 20 years old. She is from Iraq and was 6 months pregnant when we met her. She had no money for clothes for her baby. We later found out she had her baby safely in a refugee camp in Athens  The man at the end was fascinating, and very poetic. He told us how the Taliban was after him, how they came to his house and killed his brother thinking it was him. His father had called him to tell him he could never come back home. As if this wasn’t enough, he told us a story that has stayed with me every since. Not long after his brother was killed, he was praying in a mosque. Three terrorists came into the mosque and began shooting people in the back of their head as they prayed in a row. When they got to him, someone threw a rock at terrorists. While they were distracted, our friend was able to reach over to the man who lay dead next to him, and wipe his blood on to the back of his own neck – pretending to be dead. This quick thinking meant he was the only person in his row to survive. 162 people died in the mosque that day.  My message in this film is this – The people in this video are just like us. They are engineers, drivers, mothers, students. They lived normal lives until war and violence changed everything. They are now living under bridges and in camps, they don’t have a choice. But we do. We can choose to educate ourselves and understand where these people come from and what they’ve been through.  These are the faces of the refugee crisis."  The refugee crisis is not slowing down. The things that are causing people to flee their homes – wars, persecution, death – are not going away. But we must not allow ourselves to fall silent. We must speak up for the people who have lost their lives, and stand alongside those who continue to seek safety and freedom. We must raise our voices and make sure that these atrocities are heard. We cannot allow them to fall on deaf ears.  We must remember that these people are just that – people. They are more than statistics. Each and every single one is a life lived, just like ours. They are brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. They are doctors and gardeners and engineers and business owners and homemakers. They are just like us.  Please, keep talking, keep saying these things out loud and keep asking people to come together and show their support. Our voices will not fall silent.           A film by Finlay O’Hara Original Score, Audio Editing and Mixing by Alex Hollingsworth With Thanks to Megan Majd   

Jasmine O'Hara, Founder of The Worldwide Tribe, shares a film produced by her team while in a refugee camp in Athens where ordinary people share stories of their lives before they became 'refugees'.

Mental Health - Not Just a Problem Reserved for Developed Countries

Mental Health - Not Just a Problem Reserved for Developed Countries

Like many things, including hygiene and dignity, mental health is often washed away within refugee camps. The lack of adequate treatment and resources for mental health is a nightmarish reality that further adds to the feelings of hopelessness and despair.

Scabies in Moria

Scabies in Moria

Divya Mishra shares her experience in Moria where she helped diagnose a refugee with scabies. In this blog post she enforces the importance of coordination between medical teams and non-food-items NGOs to enable infected persons to get enough fresh clothes to prevent reinfection.

One Approach to “Radical Transparency”

One Approach to “Radical Transparency”

One of the core challenges that plagues non-profit organizations is opaqueness in the distribution supply chain. However, more can be done to further enhance transparency and trust within the distribution supply chain, to create greater confidence for both donors and nonprofit organizations.

From Vancouver to Uganda and Beyond: The One4Her Story

From Vancouver to Uganda and Beyond: The One4Her Story

The Unmentionables are so excited to be partnering with Lunapads! In this guest post they've shared their story from being a local manufacturer of reusable menstrual products to distributing worldwide.

Can Condoms and Culture Co-Exist?

Can Condoms and Culture Co-Exist?

The need for family planning among refugees and displaced peoples isn’t always considered a priority. The reality is that these populations are at a much higher risk of unwanted pregnancies and infections.

A Brief History of Underwear

A Brief History of Underwear

Underwear is something that we take for granted without even realising but have you ever thought about what our ancestors wore way back when the choices we now have weren't available? Here's a brief history of underwear!

Vlog: Introducing Tara!

Tara Pokras, The Unmentionables' Women's Health Advocate, is starting a vlog series where she'll share the good, the bad and the ugly as she tests out reusable period supplies that we distribute to refugees!

Refugees and Human Rights: Humanizing the Dehumanized

Refugees and Human Rights: Humanizing the Dehumanized

Calling everyone a “migrant” risks stripping away the stories of fear and human rights abuses that have forced the majority of arrivals to seek protection and asylum in Europe. This unified perception of refugees in the media forgoes their human identity and individuality, and can in turn decrease their agency and ability to claim their duly owed human rights.

Our Week on the Ground

Our Week on the Ground

The Unmentionables Operations Intern, Zoe Pike shares the insight she gained while on a distribution trip in Greece in March. After meeting refugees to provide them with underwear, feminine hygiene and sexual health products, she writes about the need to stop dehumanising refugee communities, that consist of ordinary people stuck in unfortunate situations.

Women and Girl’s Menstrual Health Matters. Period

Women and Girl’s Menstrual Health Matters. Period

It is important to address menstrual health, particularly the existing gap in meeting these health needs in emergency settings. Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to infection, affect a woman or girls' safety, while existing taboos disproportionately affect their livelihoods. Access to an adequate supply of sanitary materials is imperative to make them feel safe, allowing them to maintain their dignity, protect their cultural values and improve their health.

Unaccompanied Minors

Unaccompanied Minors

Unaccompanied children have witnessed some of the worst atrocities and even after reaching safety, they are still one of the most vulnerable groups of people in refugee camps, facing a much higher risk for exploitation and human trafficking. For many, the small act of providing them with clean, dry underwear can help protect them against infections, provide a small amount of comfort and dignity, while also helping to protect against sexual assault.