#40Acts – Day Three: Period Poverty

Image from the #40Acts daily prompt email
  • Green Option: Spend some time looking into local groups that give free sanitary care to schools.
  • Yellow Option: Go Shopping. And drop off a package in a donation box in your local area.
  • Red Option: Do your bit to educate. Get the word out on social media – even though it’s awkward.

For this one, I took to social media. I regularly donate a packet or two of sanitary pads to the Red Box Project collection box at Rogan’s Books. It was the facts that worry me and make me cross. According to Plan International, 1 in 10 girls can’t afford sanitary products and over 137,700 children have missed school because of period poverty; 40% have used toilet roll as a substitute. On average it costs £13 a month and some households have to weigh it up against heating or food. How in this day and age is period poverty a thing here in the UK?

The Red Box Project are doing a great job about getting sanitary products into schools that girls in need can be given. It’s not just pads or tampons but it’s underwear so that they have spares to change into if needed. (Another thing we probably take for granted and don’t think of)

If you’re in Bedford and you’d like to donate to the project, there is a collection box in Rogan’s Books in Bedford. Sealed in boxes tampons, pads and clean, new underwear are all gratefully received. The Red Box Project aim to reach 10 to 18-year-olds to give you a guide of what’s needed.

A number of people commented on my Facebook post. A male friend commented: “Most guys don’t like to talk about this issue but soon would if their bodies partially fell apart every month. I think the real issue is why a device that consists of only a few simple and cheaply sourced components, which are mechanically assembled, costs people £13 a month when the production would be cheaper than 1.3p/unit. What did poor girls do 100 years ago?” He’s certainly doing his part though, he manages a conference/events location and in the ladies loo there, there is a basket of complimentary sanity products just in case there’s an urgent need – great idea! (There’s a similar idea at our church which is great!)

Another friend commented about promoting reusable products too. I can see where she’s coming from but I think this goes back to that money sum again. If the parents/guardians can’t afford the £13 for the products, do they have to then weigh up food/heating against washing powders etc for products like reusable pads – also is there the education around using the products?

Red Box Project Bedford