By Ella Fenwick | Sport Editor
Running five kilometres every day for 28 days doesn’t sound too strenuous. For any other person though throwing in some unpredictable snow days while running in a DIY sanitary pad costume might have made February seem like the longest month in the calendar. Not for second year law student Shreshth Goel however as he took on the conquest with his positive, can-do attitude.
While researching and working alongside the current VP of Welfare, Georgie, in creating period dignity campaigns for Cardiff University, Goel found himself coming across some rather shocking figures but two in particular ignited a fire inside.
He found that 27 % of women and girls across the UK overuse their sanitary products because they can’t afford new ones. 40% of women in the UK have admitted to resorting to using tissue roll instead of sanitary products because they can’t afford them.
With the knowledge of these staggering numbers, Goel couldn’t sit around another moment and said; “We have got to change that.”
Goel started his campaign ‘Safe Periods for You’ with immediate effect, setting himself a target of £500 he began his journey to raise money for Freedom for Girls. The charity aims to educate women and provide reusable sanitary products to girls not just in the UK but across the world.
Over the 28 days of February Goel had challenged himself to run a total of five kilometres around Cardiff a day but somehow that didn’t seem like enough. So back to the drawing board it was for Goel, who admittedly had bounced around many ideas until he reached his light bulb moment. Sanitary product costumes were harder to find than Goel had originally planned on and soon enough made his own costume ready to deliver his message.
“I was very scared to do this at first. What if no one understood the idea? People will think ‘why does it have to be a used pad’. So many things were running through my head,” said Goel.
Even though Goel has received lots of support in his mission on raising awareness, some of the feedback has not been so positive; “There are people who actually do say things under my Facebook posts and on Instagram. One comment said; “Someone needs to throw this entire pad in the dustbin’, referring to me as well. I thought this isn’t safe, so I always run in areas that are not secluded. Sadly, there have been people who have stopped me to just give me verbal abuse.”
Remaining positive, Goel hasn’t let the haters get him down and said he would always be happy to educate individuals on the surrounding matter even those who stop to question him while running; “I just want people to be able to talk about it more freely. When I am out running there are some people who stop me and ask me what is going on.”
Despite some of the negative reception, Goel didn’t let it put him off but is thankful for the support and has continued to work on his next project for his Safe Periods for You campaign.
“After February finishes, although it is still in the works right now and I haven’t really put it out there yet, I will probably be doing a bonus week to celebrate those who have irregularities in their periods. There are people out there who have complications too.”
Period poverty is still a big problem in the UK and is very prominent in today’s society, yet a very taboo subject that remains largely unspoken about. So hopefully we will see Goel running across the city again very soon to continue raising awareness on such an important matter.