Jacinta Gulasekharam wishes products from the period were more accessible – Stuff | WHs Answers

Jacinta Gulasekharam is an impact-oriented social entrepreneur and connector. In 2016 she co-founded Dignity NZ, a company that offers period products in the workplace and has given away over 50,000 period products in that time.

The 26-year-old advocated giving schools free period products, which the government finally did last year. Born in Feilding, she was a 2021 Wellbeing Impact Award winner and a finalist for Young New Zealander of the Year 2022.

Gulasekharam lives in Wellington with her fiance, journalist Jason Walls. She will be speaking about her advocacy journey at the Festival for the Future next weekend.

I WISH I KNEW 10 YEARS AGO…

That I was good enough I wish I had known that I don’t need to change anything about myself and that I’m good and perfect just the way I am. Ten years ago I was 16 and shaped by the ball season, among other things – was I as good looking as the other girls?

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Growing up, alongside the Photoshopped images in magazines, I was constantly comparing myself to others with different body types, ethnicities, and diets. It’s even worse with social media now, but really the only opinion that matters is the one you have about yourself. I wish I had accepted who I am and seen the beauty in all of my attributes, inside and out.

I WISH I COULD SWAP LIVES WITH…

Jacinda Ardern for the day. I’d love to experience what it’s like to be her for a day. I remember meeting her with the Positive Periods working group in 2020 and she served cups of tea. I remember thinking: what does she have to do after that?

Jacinda Ardern announced free hygiene products in all schools in February 2021.

Reuters

Jacinda Ardern announced free hygiene products in all schools in February 2021.

I WISH I COULD EAT EVERY DAY…

My fiancé’s chicken and mango salad. It is so good. He makes it with a delicious dressing and cashew nuts. I love fresh food.

THE PERSON I WISH WAS ON A BANKNOTE IS…

Lisa King, the founder of Eat My Lunch. Her social enterprise had a tremendous impact and inspired me to start my own social impact businesses. She is one of the incredible Asian women I look up to. Eat My Lunch has given away 1,700,000 meals to hungry school children.

Lisa King - Co-founder of Eat My Lunch.

Cameron Burnell/Fairfax New Zealand

Lisa King – Co-founder of Eat My Lunch.

THE NOISE I WISH I COULD NEVER HEAR AGAIN IS…

The Covid text alert system. There’s always fear when you hear that alarm and wonder what’s about to happen. As soon as it kicked off to signal the first lockdown, I got a huge scare when it kicked off again. Hopefully we don’t have to listen to that again – hopefully those times are behind us.

I WISH I COULD SPEND A SUNDAY WITH…

My grandma Aachchi. Aachchi is Sinhala for grandmother. She is 91 and moved into a new retirement home in Hobsonville earlier this year. I couldn’t visit her because of Covid.

I learned so much about my Sri Lankan heritage from her. I used to stay with her during school holidays and we made waffles in the mornings. I am very close to her and call her often for her grandmotherly advice whatever I’m going through in life. I remember worrying when the Covid-19 pandemic was new and she told me ‘this will pass’ which gave me a new perspective. Talking on the phone is not the same as a big hug.

I WISH I COULD BE IN…

Maui, Hawaii. I went there with a friend on vacation in 2018 and it was the most pristine, tranquil place. The best part was a surprise gift from my boyfriend for snorkeling with turtles. Maui reminds me of some of the beaches in Abel Tasman that are so secluded and you can see right through the ocean. It was so warm and I felt so relaxed.

Kevin Stent/Stuff

“I have great hope that New Zealand will become more prosperous in terms of housing, transportation and our social concerns.”

I WISH NEW ZEALAND WERE MORE…

Challenging. We have many challenges that can seem overwhelming. I have great hope that New Zealand will become more prosperous in terms of housing, transport and our social concerns. New Zealand should be the preferred place to live where we can live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how we can allow more competition in the supermarket industry to drive down prices. How can we use alternative building materials and promote crafting as a great career option? We are a small and powerful country with more than enough willpower to ensure that people do not go without food, shelter or education.

Jacinta’s quick shots:

FASHION WEEK or ART FESTIVAL

SIDE TRIP or CITY VACATION

NEW DRESS or OLD FAVORITE

TELL A JOKE or HEAR A JOKE

SWIMMING POOL or OCEAN

SKI SLOPES or TROPICAL VACATION

CINEMA OR NETFLIX

TOWN or BIG CITY

SPEAK or LISTEN

CHARITY or SHOP

SUMMER or WINTER

A COOK or GARDEN

BUSH WALK or WALK ON THE BEACH

NIGHT IN or GOING OUT

SAVE or SPEND IT

DREAM or TO PLAN

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