By age 16, Nadya Okamoto had experienced homelessness. Through that experience and by having conversations with other homeless women, she learned that there was a huge lack of access to feminine hygiene products.
Determined, compassionate and resilient, Nadya decided to start Camions of Care to help address the natural needs of homeless women.
The oldest of three girls in a single parent household, Nadya’s family ended up homeless for a few months. “I was constantly concerned about compiling enough support for my sisters and mother,” says Nadya, “I gave up many privileges and access to certain resources, sometimes this included feminine hygiene products.”
Through Camions of Care, Nadya and her team of volunteers do more than provide feminine hygiene products, they provide resources on the HIV/AIDS prevention, information on personal hygiene and where to find clean restrooms that are accessible to homeless women. “For homeless women, dealing with the monthly reoccurrence of periods is one of the most challenging obstacles,” says Nadya.
Since the organization’s founding, Camions of Care has gone from helping approximately 20 women a week to 100-150 a week. The organization currently serves more than 550 women in Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah and in Guatemala with small care packages that have enough products to last one menstrual cycle.