Belgium/Auréa creates "Lueur d'espoir" to combat menstrual precariousness

Published on 29/05/2023 | La rédaction


At the age of 22, Auréa, a political science student at UNamur, is the founder of the non-profit organization "Lueur d'espoir", which fights against menstrual precariousness. Every month, she organizes hygiene kit distributions in the streets of Wallonia's major cities to help women in precarious situations. We met her during a distribution in the streets of Charleroi.

It was in 2020 that Auréa decided to get involved in the fight against menstrual precariousness, following an encounter that upset her: "I came across a woman in the street who had a bloodstain on her pants. Out of feminine solidarity, I asked her if she needed anything. As I chatted with her, I realized that this woman had a young child and that she had to choose between feeding her child and buying sanitary pads. I found this unacceptable! I decided I wanted to help her and all the other women in this situation."

I want to help women in precarious situations to regain their feminine dignity.

Menstrual costs are estimated at between €20 and €25 per month per woman (this budget does not include visits to the gynecologist). More and more women are finding it difficult to cope with this cost. To relieve these women, Auréa organizes collections of feminine hygiene products and puts together kits with all the donations received. These include towels, cups and tampons, as well as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant and moisturizer.

Once the kits have been put together, Auréa and the volunteers head out to meet homeless women on the streets of Wallonia's major cities to give them the kits and have a chat with them. "The women I meet are grateful, some cry. Precariousness is a very cyclical problem. We think about it during the holidays because it's cold outside, but these women need us all year round. The hygienic side of poverty is given too little consideration."

May 28 is World Menstrual Hygiene Day

Since 2014, there has been a World Menstrual Hygiene Day. It takes place every year on May 28. This year, Auréa is organizing a special distribution at Lantin prison in Juprelle on that day. "The aim is to reach as many women as possible, even those who are "inaccessible", such as women in prison or in closed centers. They too have a right to dignity and a minimum of hygiene."

The "Lueur d'espoir" volunteers are mainly students who give their time on holidays and weekends. Diana and Roni are brother and sister and are on their third distribution: "Taking part in these distributions makes me realize that it can happen to anyone. From one day to the next, you can lose everything, and if I were to find myself in that situation, I'd be happy to have someone reach out to me," says Diana. Roni is the only man among the day's ten or so volunteers: "Before 'Lueur d'espoir', I didn't know about the problem of menstrual precariousness. I was really touched by this cause and since then, I help out whenever I can."

Raising public awareness of this cause is also one of Auréa's missions. To do this, she goes into schools to give information sessions and gradually break the taboo that still surrounds menstruation and menstrual precariousness. "I meet a lot of students who are also in difficulty. Precariousness doesn't just affect the homeless. It's everywhere."

If you too would like to give Auréa a helping hand, you can either make donations to "Lueur d'espoir", or become a volunteer at the next distribution. For dates, visit the non-profit's social networks: Facebook and Instagram.


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