Pupils join period poverty scheme
Schoolgirls volunteer to promote initiative
An East Kilbride high school is blazing a trail in the fight to end period poverty.
Sixth-year pupils at St Andrew’s and St Bride’s have formed a committee to promote a new Scottish Government scheme that aims to give schools access to free sanitary products.
Every school in South Lanarkshire is to be supplied with sanitary products to ensure that no girl has to miss any of her education.
The girls have worked hard to take forward the initiative to support equality and allow for full participation in education.
Committee member Sandra Santosh said: “We have identified three issues that we are looking to address: accessibility, stigma and awareness.
“We then had to look at how we are going to achieve these, and we are building up different ways of doing so such as having sanitary products in baskets in the toilets and visiting classes of younger children to inform them of the messages they need to hear.”
Also on the committee is Chloe Carmichael, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
She added: “This is something I have been working on for a long time both here and with other schools in East Kilbride. It is something that is really needed for many reasons, and so it is great to see it starting to become a reality to help girls with such an important matter.
“No one should suffer in this way, and hopefully now no one will.”
St Andrew’s and St Bride’s head teacher Fiona Mullen said: “We very much welcome this initiative.
“No young person should be held back from being able to access education and we have been working with this group of girls to consider the best way to roll it out within our school while protecting their dignity and avoiding anxiety, embarrassment and stigma.
“When we asked for volunteers we wondered what sort of response we would get – so imagine how amazed we were when 30 of them wanted to be involved.
“We have since been blown away by their approach to it – this has been driven and put in place by them, and the ideas they have come up with and the maturity they have shown in approaching the subject has been wonderful.”
The initiative is assisted by funding from the Scottish Government and supporting its launch in South Lanarkshire was East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani.
She said: “It is wonderful to see this happening and even better to see the enthusiasm, drive and initiative shown by these girls at St Andrew’s and St Bride’s.
“Their approach is one that will undoubtedly be an inspiration and an example to others asthis vital initiative is rolled out in areas right across Scotland.”
Lynn Sherry, head of education for East Kilbride, said: “It is great to see that all schools in the area are working with pupils and staff to identify how best to make these products freely available and to move us all away from any feeling of embarrassment surrounding the subject.”
Girl power St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High have committee promoting sanitary products initiative