We provide people, mostly women and girls, living in difficult situations in Amsterdam with Dignity Kits: kits with menstrual products and the most basic of toiletries, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo.
Why are these kits necessary?
We’re all aware of the refugees and undocumented migrants who have left desperate situations and, traveling at great expense and risk, have sought safer living conditions in Europe. Once they arrive within continental Europe, and in cities such as Amsterdam, their living conditions can remain far more precarious than we might realise.
There are refugees who find themselves legally stranded due to EU regulations such as the Dublin Regulation. The Dublin Regulation is an EU law which establishes where refugees can file for asylum. It requires refugees to request asylum in the first EU country to which they arrive. This has meant a lot of pressure on border countries such as Greece, unable to structurally meet the refugees’ needs. But refugees moving on from the often dire circumstances of camps in Greece, find themselves during 18 months with no right to employment, housing or even food. They must somehow survive the 18 months before being allowed to reapply in another EU country.
Another group we work with consists of undocumented migrants who have come to Amsterdam seeking a better life for themselves, but were not able to obtain a residency permit, or are still in the lengthy process of obtaining one. They often work off the books in the so-called informal economy, as hospitality workers, cleaners and nannies. They have no right to support from the government and often find themselves at risk of exploitation and abuse, living with great uncertainties in sublet or squatted housing.
The result is that in Amsterdam today there are scores of people, homeless or living day to day in uncertain living situations, at stressful risk of being set out in the street, being detained or deported. As a result of having no right to legal work, they also lack access to basic needs, such as toiletries. Being able to keep yourself clean is a basic, fundamental step to a sense of stability and autonomy. This is why we want to ensure they have steady access to toiletries and menstrual products.
It is why we provide Dignity Kits, containing these products. Help us meet this most basic of human needs in Amsterdam. Make a tangible difference in a person’s life today.
What is in a Dignity Kit?
The contents of a Dignity Kit are based on needs: some people we work with receive kits with only menstrual products. Others, such as people who menstruate and are homeless, also receive other basic toiletries. A full Dignity Kit for these groups contains the following:
- Menstrual pads and liners for one cycle*
- Body wash
- Deodorant (spray or roll-on)
- Body cream
- Tissue packs
- Toilet paper
- Nail file and nail clipper
*At the request of the people receiving our kits, pads and liners are currently the menstrual products of choice. They are very varied in age, religious background and cultural background, and tampons, cups or other inserted menstrual products can therefore be problematic. Reusable products are not an option because it cannot be guaranteed that they can be washed or sterilised often enough. Of course we are open to provide any other kind of menstrual product if there is a preference, as also outlined in our FAQs!
One full Dignity Kit costs about EUR 15.00 to assemble.
How many women do we currently provide Dignity Kits for?
We are working together with various organizations to supply women they are providing with other basic living necessities with Dignity Kits. We are currently providing 90 monthly kits. 40 of these kits go to a set group of women and teenage girls who live together in shelter houses in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost and Amsterdam East. 50 of the kits go to a varying group of women frequenting the Wereldhuis in the center of Amsterdam.
We plan to increase the amount of kits distributed as the project progresses.
Do you also provide kits outside of Amsterdam?
We currently do not, but never say never!
Wondering how you can contribute?
Help us meet this most basic of human needs right here in Amsterdam. There are several ways in which you could support us:
- Support us with a financial donation, so we can go out and buy the items needed for the kits. This way we can make sure that we always have the exact products needed. Find out more here!
- Buy one of our limited edition tote bags! Anneloes has illustrated a limited amount of 50 tote bags. The full proceeds of each sale will go directly to the Dignity Kits project. Find out more here. (Please note that these will only be shipped within The Netherlands.)
- Get together with others and assemble some ready-to-donate kits! Make it a night with your friends, your family, your fellow students, your colleagues, your neighbours – it’s a great way to support other women in the city and give back. If you’d like to do this, please see our manual for more specific information.
- Donate products that we can assemble into kits! If you’d like to do this, please reach out to us for more specific information.
- Organize a product-drive at your school, work, place of worship or in your neighbourhood. Maybe there is a community-work week at your school? Or a Christmas giving-back event in your office? Get a box and ask people to donate an item off the list above – think socks, or soap, or toothbrushes! If you’d like to do this, please get in touch with us first for more details.
- If you like what we do, consider talking to your company about matching all employee donations.