Lighting up for menstrual dignity

Lady on couch with period

On Tuesday 11 October Surrey Fire and Rescue Service lit up Guildford Fire Station in a show of support for Binti, an international menstrual dignity charity based in Weybridge, Surrey. The service will be looking to supplement Surrey County Council’s ground-breaking initiative, as the first UK council to provide free period products across the county and eradicate menstrual stigma and taboo whilst normalising the conversation.

Binti and Surrey Fire Service outside Guildford Fire Station

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service are to explore the distribution of Dignity Packs where needed when carrying out community engagement activities. 

The event at Guildford Fire Station was attended by representatives from the Service, including Acting Chief Fire Officer, Dan Quin, and Chief of Staff Bernie Beckett. They were joined by actor and Binti ambassador Nina Wadia, star of TV programmes including EastendersThe OutlawsDr Who and contestant on last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The lighting up of Guildford Fire Station coincided with International Day of the Girl Child, which seeks to highlight the challenges faced by young females to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence across the globe. 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, following its establishment by the United Nations. They note that over the past 10 years, there has been increased attention on issues that matter to girls amongst governments, policymakers and the general public, and more opportunities for girls to have their voices heard on the global stage. Yet, investments in girls’ rights remain limited and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential; made worse by concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19 and humanitarian conflict.  

Surrey County Council initially worked with Binti to host collection and donation points at 35 Surrey buildings, including libraries and County Council buildings upon the launch of the partnership in May 2021. Since then, the initiative has spread to a total of 55 collection and donation points where people can take period products to enable Period Dignity. 

Other organisations in Surrey have also come onboard, including Morrisons branches in Woking and Weybridge, as well St James Church in Weybridge.

Commenting on their support for Binti, Acting Chief Fire Officer, Dan Quin, stated: “We are delighted to be supporting Binti. As a Surrey-based charity with a global impact, they share our passion to support and protect those in need. I look forward to seeing the partnership develop, and hope that our communities will benefit from our planned work with Binti, as they have from the scheme established by our colleagues in Surrey County Council, and in particular Surrey Libraries.”

Manjit K. Gill MBE, CEO and Founder of Binti commented, “We believe period products should be available like toilet paper is and Surrey County Council are leading the way to create this change. With the cost of living crisis impacting many the campaign has been designed to ensure everyone has free access. Surrey is having menstrual conversations every day and working with Surrey Fire and Rescue Service is so exciting because we think period stigma will become a thing of the past.”

Binti was the first period charity registered in the UK, they have offices in India, US and The Gambia. They have now opened a period charity shop the first of its kind in Walton on Thames. Girls can buy period products and discuss all things related to menstruation. Binti’s vision is to provide menstrual dignity to all girls, all over the world. This means facilitating access to pads to ensure menstrual health, educating girls about what menstruation is and what they can expect from it, and dispelling stigma, taboos, myths and negative perceptions around menstruation.

For more information on how to donate and collect and ways to get involved, visit Surrey County Council’s Period Dignity webpage or the Binti website.

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