According to research from Plan International UK, one in ten girls cannot afford to buy menstrual products and over 137,700 children in the UK have missed time at school because of period poverty. A survey of over 1,000 girls identified that nearly half felt embarrassed by their period and that the stigma they associated with it prevented them from asking for help.
The Young Health Champions at Kelmscott School plan to raise awareness of the issue and petition the Government to issue a ‘P Card’. This would allow girls to be able to access free menstrual products, in a similar way in which those with a C Card can access free contraception.
They also plan to design and install an art display highlighting the importance of the issue and make badges to raise money for menstrual product access in local domestic violence refuges and homeless shelters.
The Young Health Champions will launch their campaign at the Kelmscott School Health and Wellbeing Carousel Day, starting conversations with their peers on this important topic. They will then work with their fellow Young Health Champions in other schools across Walthamstow to lead a community-wide campaign on the issue.
“We all agreed that this was an issue that was really important to us” said Sabrina Sellami on behalf of her fellow Young Health Champions. “It is completely wrong and unfair that girls should miss time in school, or any other opportunity in life, because of their period. We hope that our campaign will raise awareness of this issue and play a part in making sure that everyone can access menstrual products”.
“We are delighted that the YHC have chosen ‘Period Poverty’ as their campaign focus this year” said Tina Thorp from Kelmscott School. “The school leadership team is very proud that they are courageous enough to tackle such a controversial and sensitive issue.
“We are really pleased to hear that our Young Health Champions at Kelmscott School are raising this incredibly important issue” said Aaron Mansfield, Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Manager at RSPH. “We look forward to supporting their campaign in any way in which we can, in order to make sure that their voices are heard”.
For more information about the work planned by Young Health Champions at Kelmscott School, please email Pam Ereira or, for more information about RSPH and the Young Health Champions programme, please email Aaron Mansfield.