Project: Distributing Dignity was developed by high school students (and one mother) to fight for the needs of students on the Pine Ridge Reservation. According to the 2021 Borgen Report, 97% of the population on the Pine Ridge Reservation live far below the U.S. Federal Poverty line. The median income is approx. $2600 and $3200 annually. Jobs are scarce. Many families simply cannot afford wood or propane to heat their homes.
Families already must make the difficult decision of whether to buy food or to provide heat. Period poverty on the Reservation means that there is no money for menstrual products, and students must rely on primitive means. Students will have to miss school when they are on their period and missing a week per month takes a toll on their education. Those students often fall so far behind that they have no choice but to drop out. Graduation rates on the reservation are already low (only 30%) and these students are missing school because of something they have no control over.
Why doesn't the government help?
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) do not include period products as part of benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) does not disperse assistance checks to people simply because they are Native American. The United States does not pay reparations for centuries of genocide, land theft, and disease outbreaks. Few Native Americans have received compensation from the federal government for historical injustices, land disputes, or other issues.
Don't tribes make a lot of money off of casinos?
Some tribes issue quarterly or monthly per capita payments to their members from the profits of tribally owned enterprises. But this all depends on the success of these businesses. According to the Partnership with Native American, fewer than 15% of tribes have prosperous casinos.
We believe all students deserve an education!
Project: Distributing Dignity believes that every student has a right to an education regardless of financial status and menstrual cycles. We want to empower students by providing period products to those who are at risk of dropping out of school due to a lack of affordable products.
A period should never get in the way of an education.
Statistics show that 70% of Pine Ridge students drop out of school
Over 97% of families on the Reservation live below the
Our mission is to provide period products to students on Reservations so that they don't have to miss school due to a lack of affordable hygiene items. We hope to help students stay in school, graduate, and increase opportunities for a hopeful and fulfilling life.