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MSU student groups hold menstrual product drive for Gaza

February 5, 2024
<p>Menstrual product donations towards women in Gaza lacking menstrual products in room 206 of the International Center on Feb. 5, 2024. SUPR, ACS and PPGA are holding this drive to help women in Gaza who are delaying their period via a pill or are not using hygienic products; affecting their overall health.</p>

Menstrual product donations towards women in Gaza lacking menstrual products in room 206 of the International Center on Feb. 5, 2024. SUPR, ACS and PPGA are holding this drive to help women in Gaza who are delaying their period via a pill or are not using hygienic products; affecting their overall health.

Students United for Palestinian Rights, or SUPR, Arab Cultural Society, or ACS, and Planned Parenthood Generation Action, or PPGA, have partnered to hold a Menstrual Product Drive for Gaza until Feb. 6 in room 206 at the Michigan State University International Center. The drive is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

According to the United Nations Population Fund, over 690,000 menstruating women and adolescent girls in Gaza have limited access to menstrual hygiene products, as well as inadequate water, hygiene, toilets and privacy.

"We just really want to support Gaza’s women, especially pregnant women and women who have serious health conditions (and) have not been getting enough medical care," SUPR event coordinator and political science and journalism sophomore and Heba Awamleh said. 

Due to these conditions within Gaza, Awamleh said she feels very "frustrated" and "dehumanized" as an Arab American and hopes there will be a big turnout of donations. Without the proper menstrual products, many menstruating people and adolescent girls can face Toxic Shock Syndrome. 

"I feel that not having the right products (during) the hardest time of the month that many women go through must been very dehumanizing for Palestinian women," Awamleh said. "They have been using tents and papers that are not hygienic at all to at least have a way to support themselves."

Menstruating individuals have also been taking pills to delay their period since October. PPGA president and chemistry senior Rylee Warne said that the menstrual products will be donated to Mother Being, an organization based in Egypt, to bring the products to the border and into refugee camps. 

"We felt that was the best situation – because a lot of places we were finding can't get into the West Bank or can't get them to people in Palestine," Warne said. "We're really trying to emphasize what SUPR and ACS are saying. A lot of the people on our board and people who are a part of (PPGA) are not heavily impacted, and we’re pretty privileged in that way."

Warne recommends that people donate menstrual pads instead of menstrual cups, due to the current lack of cleaning access within Gaza.

"It's easy to just look at where we live in East Lansing and assume that it's not happening, but it's happening here and it's happening worldwide," Warne said. 

SUPR president and finance senior Omar Mahmoud said the drive is for SUPR, ACS and PPGA to do their "utmost best" in supporting the people of Gaza. 

"The idea of the menstrual drive is to remind people there are human beings in Gaza," Mahmoud said. "There are mothers there and they're just like you and me here. They need (menstrual products). Just always try to come help, and to remember that the people in Palestine are just like you and me."

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