Essex student gives period pads to Ukraine refugees By Alex Pope


A student has travelled from the UK to Poland to help distribute period products to Ukrainians who have been forced to leave their country due to the war with Russia.

Ella Lambert, 22, from Chelmsford, Essex, said in a matter of daysElla Lambert, 22, from Chelmsford, Essex, said in a matter of days 1,000 disposable sanitary products had been handed out to refugees in Warsaw.

She was now working to get 1,000 reusable and washable cloth pads, made by volunteers, to Ukrainian hospitals.

They were in “massive need”, she said.

Collections of sanitary pads
Disposable sanitary products are given to women who have arrived in Poland from Ukraine

The Bristol University student arrived in Warsaw on Monday to help distribute sanitary products as well as arranging for cloth pads to be shipped to Ukraine.

In March 2020, she started The Pachamama Project, where volunteers sew reusable cloth sanitary pads for refugees, called Pacha Pads.

When the war in Ukraine broke out, her not-for-profit organisation joined up with Pads 4 Refugees to get sanitary products to displaced Ukrainians in an effort to prevent period poverty.

So far about 3,000 disposable pads had been sent to Lviv, Ukraine, she said.

Miss Lambert said: “It’s heartbreaking. We’ve seen thousands of people arriving in shelters not really knowing where they are going next. It’s a complete crisis.”

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She said volunteers and organisations on the ground were “doing a great job” but “they’re in desperate need of donations as they’re going through 10,000 sanitary packs every four weeks”.

She said she was currently working with the Yorghas Foundation to get reusable pads into Ukraine.

Ella Lambert (right) with two women from The Yorghas Foundation
Ella Lambert has joined forces with The Yorghas Foundation to help keep women out of period poverty

“Periods are still seen as a taboo and stigmatised subject. People don’t talk about it, but there’s a massive need for them. So it’s really important that organisations like ours can hand them out,” Miss Lambert said.

“So even if they don’t ask for them, we can still give them to them.”

Małgorzata Pikora, a Polish school teacher and volunteer coordinator at the Global Expo centre in Warsaw, said: “Four thousand Ukrainians are staying at the centre and about two thirds of them are women.

“Every day we find a new home for new families, and new refugees come to replace them. Every day we give several hundred sanitary pads and other hygiene products.”

Ella Lambert in Poland in front of a Ukraine flag
“Volunteers are doing everything they can to help refugees”, Ella Lambert said.

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