More than 850 Ruby Cups have been distributed to frontline health workers across Europe and Kenya to allow them to live their periods with dignity whilst they work long shifts in difficult conditions due to the global pandemic.
Adapting Our Buy One, Give One Model to The Global Pandemic
Since Ruby Cup was founded in 2012, our cups have come with a Buy One, Give One promise. For every cup we sell, we donate an identical cup to someone experiencing period poverty. All of our donations are run through local partner organisations in our donation areas and are accompanied by educational workshops on reproductive health and menstrual care. In early 2020, we celebrated a company milestone - 95,000 cups donated across 12 different countries including Kenya, Angola, Nepal, UK and Uganda.
But, just like most other businesses around the globe, as the pandemic began to take its toll, our regular donation programs and menstrual health workshops were impacted. We’re committed to ensuring that every cup we donate is provided as part of an education program to increase our impact and provide long-term, sustainable change. Social distancing rules mean that our partner organisations are no longer able to meet and work with recipients in person to provide the workshops and one to one support that we usually offer. In order to maintain the quality of our donation programs, we decided to put them on pause for the immediate future. Our office staff in Barcelona and Nairobi have been working remotely and many of our partner organisations are adjusting to new methods of working with local communities.
Healthcare workers at Szpital Miejski Hospital (Poland) and at Southampton University Hospital (UK). Picture at the top: healthcare workers at Hospital fundación de Calahorra, La Rioja (Spain)
Health Workers On the Front Lines
As the global crisis continued, hundreds of thousands of health workers around the world have been called to the front lines to attend to those who are seriously unwell due to Covid-19. Our team began to hear reports about frontline health workers who are taking on long shifts with very limited bathroom breaks and limited access to period products.
At Ruby Cup, it’s our mission to ensure that people can live their periods with dignity, regardless of their income or circumstances. We heard reports of period products disappearing from shelves due to panic buying, leaving consumers without access to the products they needed. This was particularly hard for health workers who are taking on long shifts with very few breaks. When they do get time off, spending hours tracking down period products should not be their main concern.
To further complicate matters for health workers, many are being asked to wear protective clothing that is prohibitive and makes bathroom breaks difficult too. For health workers who have periods, this means attending to their own needs and managing their periods with dignity can be a difficult task.
With our regular donation schemes on pause, Ruby Cup decided to help where we could, by offering free menstrual cups to health workers across Europe and any other region where our remote working shippers and handlers are currently able to distribute.
Healthcare workers at San Matteo Hospital in Pavia (Italy) and at the Instytut Centrum Zdrowia Matki Polki in Łódź (Poland).
Free Ruby Cups for Health Workers
So far, we’ve distributed over 850 cups. Ruby Cups have reached health workers in the UK, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Kenya.
“I would like to express my special thanks from the Intensive Care Unit of the Ministry of Interior and Administration in Bialystok,” says Puczko Paulina, a health worker in Poland. “We are very grateful for the menstrual cups we have received.”
As the pandemic continues, we continue to offer free Ruby Cups to health workers across Europe. Ideally we are looking for people who work within the hospitals and who can take responsibility for distributing a small batch of Ruby Cups to their colleagues, to ensure that the cups get to people who will benefit from them. If you would like any more information or would like to enquire about getting free menstrual cups for your team or your colleagues, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.