The Ma’i Movement Hawai’i was founded in 2020 to directly address the issue of period poverty across the state. Period poverty is the inability to buy or obtain menstrual products, such as pads and tampons, and is the result of circumstances including, income constraints, inadequate menstrual health and hygiene education, cultural or societal shame or stigma surrounding menstruation, and a lack of running water or sanitary locations to maintain personal hygiene. Period poverty disproportionately affects menstruating students, members of low-income households, persons experiencing homelessness, individuals who identify as nonbinary or transgender, as well as the presently incarcerated.

Nikki-Ann Yee, co-founder of Ma’i Movement Hawai’i, joined us to talk all about the organization. “We believe that all individuals of menstruation age have the right to access sanitary products, the right to manage their bodies without shame or stigma, and the right to request and access safe and hygienic places to use these products.”

Ma’i Movement recognizes the all-encompassing societal challenges inherent in tackling the broader issue of period poverty for the local community and adopt a multi-pronged approach through period programs, advocacy, and gender-inclusive and locally inspired education. To be as equitable in their services as possible, they allow individuals to request disposable and reusable menstrual products directly through their website, and intentionally partner with over 60 organizations statewide.

“Ma’i Movement is also running our statewide campaign for Period Poverty Awareness week, which is May 23-29. We have county and state proclamations recognizing the week and community distributions on every island. You can support us by donating, hosting a drive within your own hui, and spreading the word.”

Head to maimovement.org or follow along at maimovementhawaii for more information.