PROBLEM: In the UK, some young women in our schools are finding it difficult to access sanitary products.
RESULT: Tearful panic in the loo. Wadded up toilet roll. Anxious embarrassment. Missed lessons. Missed education.
SOLUTION: A community led commitment to provide and keep stocked red boxes filled with sanitary products and spare pants. The Red Boxes will support disadvantaged young women throughout their entire period.
“One in ten teenaged girls (aged 14-21) have been unable to afford or access period products.
“But poverty isn’t the only issue, there are social and cultural reasons why products might not be available at home, some linked with the stigma that persists around menstruation” according to research from children’s charity Plan International UK.
Walton ladies Christine Stephenson and Lynn Elliott (pictured) had previously become aware of period poverty in Africa at a WI meeting, but when Christine read a magazine article, she was horrified to find that there is a huge problem in our schools in this country and how the Red Box Project aimed to help. “We decided to become local coordinators for this project in our community to help support schools by filling a Red Box with sanitary products and spare pants and placing them in our local schools.”
“Christine and I started the scheme a couple of months ago and, with the help of family and friends, have implemented the Red Box Scheme in two local schools, St Mary’s High and Parkside. The project isn’t just for Secondary Schools; Junior Schools need help as well, so we plan to contact some in the New Year.”
“In school the boxes are easily accessible through members of school staff, and young women can access the box contents, no questions asked and take the products away discretely in plain bags.
“Some young people still find periods embarrassing, despite it being part of normal life for 50 per cent of the students in a school. Present statistics suggest that one in ten young girls misses two or three days from school due to this embarrassment or from simply not having access to sanitary products.”
What can you do?
To enable Christine and Lynn to continue to support our local young women and make sure their education isn’t disrupted by a period, they need to ensure a constant supply of products, so they can fulfill their commitment to keep the Red Boxes topped up with products. They are appealing to people in the local community to donate sanitary products and new pants or a donation of money if they feel able. You can do this by phoning Christine and Lynn on 07867 505239 or 07745 318847. You can also contact them by visiting their Facebook page Chesterfield Red Box Project and messaging them.
If you’re involved with a local cause and would like support from the S40 community, please get in touch and we’ll help you spread the word.