We often complain about the inconveniences of the menstrual, but the difficulties that homeless women face once a month is almost unimaginable. With over 2450 homeless women aged 20-50 in San Francisco alone, and 3.5 million homeless women in the States, menstrual health while homeless is a real problem that affects many.
Among the resources provided to the homeless, very few of them sufficiently provide for menstrual health. Shelters, food banks, and family shelters do not have the funding to provide menstrual supplies. Food stamps cannot be spent on pads and tampons. It is an insurmountable challenge for these women to find a safe space to take care of themselves, especially in male-dominated shelters and a society which stigmatizes this monthly process.
While looking for a solution, we found a handful of organizations (such as Suitcase Clinic in Berkeley and FEM Project in LA) that rely on volunteers and donations to provide services and menstrual supplies to the homeless, but these solutions are limited and few in number. Thus, we wanted to create an application that would expand these organizations' mission and impact: an on-demand delivery system for menstrual supplies.
Women would be able to text our number or fill out an online form to request a live delivery of pads and tampons to their location. On the other end, the volunteer driver would be able to accept requests and get directions to the client.
We used Twilio API to process text messages from the client, and the Google Maps API to generate directions for the driver.
Our name "aXXess" represents our central mission to provide women access to basic menstrual supplies. The two c's are replaced by "XX" to represent the female chromosomes which determine a person's sex and whether or not they experience menstruation. Also, x's are often used to represent elicit or unspeakable things, but we wanted to reclaim the letters and destigmatize this natural monthly process.