We’re excited to be on the shortlist for the Omarmprijs 2020 (or ‘Embrace’ Prize 2020). Launched by PACT, the Amsterdam platform which connects the municipality of Amsterdam, the business community and social organizations, the annual Omarmprijs spotlights local initiatives fighting against poverty. Like us, the other nominees are all actively helping folks and building hope in Amsterdam. All the proceeds would go into Dignity Kits if we win (as always), but the other nominees are also doing their part to actively fight poverty… so we’ll just have to wait until October 22 to see who the jury selects this year! The ceremony will take place at Pakhuis de Zwijger with a small group of invitees (we’re not even sure that we’ll be there in person yet!). Do join us online for the ceremony by registering for the livestream of the event.

As word has gotten around about our nomination, we have been contacted by the media. This is obviously a good moment to raise awareness about period poverty and the real struggles marginalized groups face daily in Amsterdam–struggles which we work to alleviate through our Dignity Kits project. As your Neighborhood Feminists, we also believe in destigmatizing conversations around basic hygiene needs and lack of access to hygiene resources. So we’re definitely up for talking about periods and poverty more! Having said all this, the people we currently help have already faced so many struggles before even arriving here. Now living without papers and with great uncertainty, they are concerned about maintaining their privacy as they do their best to rebuild their lives in Amsterdam. That’s why we don’t show any faces of the people we help, nor do we ask them to provide testimonials on our website or any other social media. 

We see this moment also as an opportunity to highlight the ethics involved in sharing people’s stories. Of course it’s helpful to better understand people’s circumstances, in order to raise awareness and generate funds, but it is as important not to harm others in that process, however well-intentioned we might be. For us, the word “Dignity” in Dignity Kits means accessing needed help without being singled out or pitied. We don’t want anyone to feel obligated to share that they can’t afford period products or basic toiletries for promotional purposes. So as we continue to advocate on their behalf, please feel free to contact us to find out more –to hear more about their realities– with their permission and without their faces. 

To make these values more visible, we’ve signed an ethical storytelling pledge. (The site offers other practical, related resources, as well… and this pledge might be something of interest for you or an organization you know!)