Pupils join pe­riod poverty scheme

School­girls vol­un­teer to pro­mote ini­tia­tive

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - An­drea Lam­brou

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

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