Meet the Trustees
Tina Leslie: Founder
Mum of 3 and grandma of 1, I work in Public Health and as a fitness Instructor. I founded Freedom4Girls after spending time in Kenya, volunteering for other charities and working on a mother & baby project; this work inspired me to start a project of my own. After supporting a local Kenyan Gym and raising money to renovate a football field and supply football kits to local children, I was horrified to discover that 60% of girls and women in Kenya had no access to safe menstrual protection. It took me back to my experience of starting my period when I was 11 years old, almost 40 years previously. I was on a French exchange trip and couldn’t access any menstrual products, so had to manage with toilet paper and sleeping on the floor for a week, worried that I would soil the sheets. I remember it like it was yesterday! We all have stories to tell about how we have had accidents when we have been caught short on our periods. That is why I am so passionate about helping to create a world in which everyone is educated about their bodies and has safe, hygienic access to menstrual products. No one who menstruates should have to suffer!
My name is Linda Musonza, Trustee for Freedom4Girls since 2017. I am a Vice Chair for People in Action (Yorkshire) UK, a charity for people with learning difficulties and disabilities. I also volunteer for the Trussell Trust Foodbank. I am a Human Resources practitioner, and my HR career spans over 12 years in private, public and charity sectors. I have a Post-Graduate in Human Resources Management, CIPD qualified.
I grew up with a grandmother who was not only altruistic, but was driven by a deep need to make a difference to her local community. I sadly lost her in 2017, at around that time I heard a report on the local news that girls in Leeds were missing school due to affordability of sanitary protection. I was utterly shocked, at the same time saddened to learn that a monthly biological process was getting in the way of educational attainment for some members of society. I felt compelled to take action and stop the conundrum of access, education, raise awareness and that is how I met Tina, Founder for Freedom4Girls. We shared similar values. I wanted to take corrective action, change the narrative and re-write the period poverty script and leave a legacy that transcends time making positive a impact one tampon and one pad at a time. This is about a legacy for my esteemed Grandma, but also relentlessly tackling social inequality issues head on. I am the change that I want to see. Compassionate and resolute, I will stand.
Victoria, (better known as Tora), joined as a trustee in 2018 after meeting Tina through her day time job for a women’s charity.
Having pursued a career in human rights law in London, I moved to Leeds in 2016 where I started working in the third sector. I’m passionate about supporting young people and people with vulnerabilities who are having multiple needs ignored thanks to austerity.
Getting involved with Freedom4Girls was a meaningful project for me for two reasons - in 2014 I was diagnosed with ME and therefore out of work for a huge period meaning I had no income and had to rely on family and friends to support me financially, including helping me access sanitary protection every month, and as a keen sports woman I want to be part of the campaign that enables, supports and empowers all young women to feel like they can reach their potentials through sport inspite of our monthly visitor from Mother Nature.
I have recently undertaken trips to Uganda, where I have partnered with the charity Netball Development Trust, to supply reusable packs and speak about periods!
I am a specialist in sexual health and sex and relationships education, including teenage pregnancy prevention education and management strategies. I advise schools on all aspects of sexual health and puberty, including menstruation, period poverty strategies; sustainability and menstrual health. I design and lead menstruation workshops for schools and support schools to identify and sign post families in need to organisations and foodbank points where they can receive support, including menstrual hygiene products.
I am responsible for the development of the Sexual Health Programmes for schools, including inset training for teachers. I review of current provision within schools and advise on curriculum development, including policy writing. I have experience in chairing advisory committees and steering groups, including making recommendations for the improvement of services.
I am a fully qualified health researcher with a specialism in sexual health I am also a member of the Leeds University Menstrual Health Management advisory group.
I first met Tina Leslie when I was leading a team of sewing volunteers in Leeds, making re-usable menstrual products to distribute to girls and women in developing countries. We began to collaborate, and my involvement with Freedom4Girls gradually increased until I officially joined as a trustee in July 2018. I now run monthly and ad-hoc sewing workshops for Freedom4Girls and help out a little with tech support.
My inspiration to become involved in the fight against period poverty stems from my feelings about the importance of educational opportunities for girls and women, regardless of their social, economic or religious background. Something as simple as access to safe and hygienic menstrual products throughout a girl’s school years really is life-changing, and if I can help to provide these products, then I will continue to do so for as long as I can!
I also have a scientific background, and am particularly interested in understanding the extend of period poverty in the UK, as well as dispelling any dodgy facts and myths surrounding the problem. I (and the rest of Freedom4Girls) am always interested in the possibility of becoming involved with research into period poverty, so please remember to contact us with your ideas!