I’ve realised something lately. People are essentially good, and people essentially want to help. I sent out a simple email requesting santitary items for women without, and received enough to fill two car boots. People are really very, very kind, if you just give us a chance.
During the course of my fieldwork in Stockton-on-Tees, I became aware of a need within the community through one of the organisations providing crucial support in Stockton:
‘Catalyst, SSNP and SRCGA accepting donations for Asylum Seekers in Stockton. This morning we had a meeting in which we discovered that Asylum Seekers in Stockton and Middlesbrough are in desperate need of sanitary products. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, nappies and, perhaps most disturbing of all, women are using newspaper for sanitary towels as they cannot afford to buy them on their own.
In light of this, we are seeking donations to better the lives of Asylum Seekers and their families over the coming winter months.’
Not wanting to be simply a ‘detached researcher’, I sent out an email to the postgraduate mailing list of the geography department at Durham. Within the hour I started receiving emails with promises of goods, and before long my desk and the space around my desk was covered with bags. The messages were circulated to other departments, staff and students, and I was beyond impressed with the sheer quantity of female hygiene products, baby products and cosmetics that were donated.
Myself and Kate (also working on the Health Inequalities project) drove out to Stockton last week to drop off the donation along with some gratefully received cash donations. Already, I have several more promises of donations, as well as the area around my desk filled up with bags. The generosity of so many people has really impressed upon me the desire people have to help, and the importance of creating opportunities like this.