FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why "unmentionable" products?
Survival needs for refugees that are consistently underserved, regardless of geographic location, are ‘unmentionable’: underwear, intimate hygiene products, and sexual health products. Many of these products are single-use, can’t be donated used, and are an immediate health risk to “DIY” out of found objects. These items are directly linked to reducing infections and diseases, and tied specifically to increased self-worth and empowerment. The Unmentionables exists to meet this need by providing these products to displaced people.
Where does my money go? How does it help refugees?
We work with local suppliers in the field to get the best price possible, cut down on international shipping time, and reduce logistics costs. This way, your donations can help as many displaced populations- regardless of legal status- as possible.
Where is your office?
We don’t have one! Instead of spending your money on a physical space for our unpaid staff to work in, we direct those funds into projects. Our committed team works remotely across 3 continents, 5 countries, and 7 time zones!
Do you give medical advice or services?
Aside from basic product demonstration, we do not. Once medical advice is given, we share in the responsibility of someone’s health. As we do not currently have resources to maintain a persistent presence with medical professionals, within the same refugee communities, it would be a disservice to the people we serve.
Why don't refugees buy these products themselves?
The communities we serve have fled their homes to find safety, and have left everything behind. Many people we meet were wealthy back home; most don’t yet have legal permission to work, so they can’t earn an income to support themselves. Migration shrinks bank accounts pretty quickly. Plus, access to services and stores varies.
Can I just pick up extra undies/condoms at the store and drop them somewhere as a donation?
While our model is to purchase these items at cost from local companies and distributors, that’s not always an option, especially in rural and remote environments. We currently seek partnerships with multinational corporations for in-kind donations of feminine hygiene products, pH-balanced soap, postpartum products, and condoms. That said, even the savviest coupon-clipper will spend more money on purchasing, shipping and delivering these items to us than we spend buying them in the field.
Why focus on Greece?
In 2015 and 2016, 1,360,376 migrants crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean seas into Greece (Missing Migrant Project, IOM). With the closure of the Balkan route, many are now stuck there for the foreseeable future and need our help. We currently distribute ‘unmentionable’ products in Athens and Chios, but are planning to expand to help more people in need.
Why are there no photos of people receiving these products?
Dignity is our top priority. The products that we distribute maybe be embarrassing for some, so it is out of respect and privacy that we do not photograph people receiving these products.
Aren't there fewer refugees now? Hasn't the refugee crisis stopped?
Simple answer: no. There are approximately 65 million refugees (UNHCR) around the world. For Greece in particular, arrivals have declined from previous years, but the number of people stranded here increases continuously. Complicated political negotiations won’t allow them to continue forward, and going back is not an option.