Have you heard of period poverty?
It’s when women and girls can’t afford to buy sanitary products. I know some of you reading this might find that hard to believe. Everyone must be able to afford a few quid a month to buy some tampons or pads – right?
Wrong. Imagine you are a teenage girl, whose family is already on the bread line. You don’t feel like you can ask your mum to make the choice between buying the loaf of bread and tin of beans for your lunch. Even if you felt you could, would you? Is that a choice you should even have to make?
This is the situation that more and more young girls find themselves in. They might try and make some sort of alternative, but let’s face it a few sheets of toilet paper aren’t going to cut it. You might ask friends if they might give you something, but at worse miss school. Imagine on your heaviest flow day and having to sit in a class, paranoid that you might show or even leaking. Would you do that as an adult? Would you go to work without protection?
The Red Box Project is working hard across the UK to help young women in this situation.
What is the Red Box Project?
Put simply, the Red Box Project is a Red Box filled with free sanitary towels, tampons, spare pants and paper bags for discretion. The box is stocked by donations from the public and kept at school with the nurse, receptionist or other appropriate member of staff. Unlike other schemes, the project doesn’t just provide emergency supplier. It aims to provide sufficient protection for the whole period.
The red box is kept with a designated person at school and easily accessed by young women in need during their period. It means that young girls don’t need to miss school or feel embarrassed. They can access free, hygienic and safe ways of managing their period.
The Red Box Project South East Wales!
The Red Box Project South East Wales supports young women in schools in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Newport and Cardiff. It is coordinatedentirely by volunteers with the sole aim of quietly ensuring girls do not miss out on their education due to their period.
There are projects throughout the UK though, not just on my doorstep. You can find information on your local projects here.