Rochelle Courtenay talks about Share The Dignity which she founded to bring dignity back into the lives of women who are homeless or at risk and are suffering from domestic violence through the distribution of sanitary goods.
It’s an incredible cause and here, Rochelle explains how you can help them make a difference.
Well, this is not how I imagined our year unfolding. When we made the decision to end Share the Dignity’s March drive early and close down collection points, our team of volunteers were devastated. Just like the rest of Australia, COVID-19 is a health and safety challenge our charity has to overcome before we get back to serving the community – but we had a communications challenge too.
Share the Dignity is a non-profit I founded to bring dignity to homeless, at-risk women and those experiencing domestic violence through the distribution of sanitary goods. We rely on over 5,000 volunteers spread across Australia to collect pads, tampons and other items a woman doing it tough may need to make sure the last thing on her mind is her period.
COVID-19 has been disruptive to many aspects of our lives – including how we share critical information at Share the Dignity. As many organisations are now faced with accommodating a remote workforce for the first time, we face the same challenge with our volunteers. Luckily, we have the resources to tackle them.
We have always relied on creativity and innovation. Workplace from Facebook is one tool that has been essential to helping us achieve our mission. In this global crisis, our organisation-wide collaboration tool makes it possible to update our workforce with clear and reliable communication.
Our state leaders are in regular contact with their teams, sharing real time video updates at least once a month. Even though our volunteers have had to stand down, we continue to build engagement so we can get back to work ending period poverty when the time is right.
Workplace is a means for us to connect across our entire network. It flattens any internal hierarchies and gives every volunteer a voice – we can enhance our work by building a strong online support system and friendships. One post asking people to share a picture of themselves and their mum encouraged hundreds of volunteers to get involved. We have also paired up for virtual ‘pen pal’ to make sure no volunteers feel alone at this time, and can stay social with a new friend or two. We all have a common passion at Share the Dignity – supporting women and girls – and we’re still able to come together to share and learn from each other easily.
Everything’s better when we are connected. In many ways, people across Australia are closer than ever right now. As restrictions ease and we move forward, I know at Share the Dignity our teamwork and our bond is stronger, and I look forward to seeing how that helps us grow.
Women Love Tech would like to thank Rochelle Courtenay for her article.