The stigma of periods is one that has been around for a long time and period poverty is one that can affect many young people across the world. A group of young people here in the UK are working hard to help teenagers get the information and resources needed when it comes to menstrual hygiene.
End the stigma around period poverty
For those who menstruate, regardless of where they are in the world, period poverty is rife in many places. With a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products or the right healthcare and education in place, a lot of individuals end up feeling unprepared and even ashamed about their bodies and menstrual cycles.
A group of young people are hoping to help end the stigma surrounding period poverty and hopefully providing the tools and resources needed to end period poverty all together. Their mission is to allow all teenagers to become ‘period proud’. And why shouldn’t they? Periods are after all, a natural way of the body cleaning itself and that’s something that should be celebrated and supported in a positive way.
Be Period Proud with Youth Leads UK
Youth Leads UK is a volunteer-based organization with volunteers ranging from 14 to 24. They’ve recently launched a questionnaire for teenagers aged 12 through 19, to tell them exactly what the world looks like in order for everyone to be period proud. This initiative is aimed to help highlight the impact of period poverty on those who menstruate and how it’s often something that can affect the individual’s mental health.
It’s important that from this questionnaire, Youth Leads UK are able to provide practical actions to decision-makers not only in the UK but across the globe.
Free products for educational institutions
It was announced last year that the UK government would be providing free period products to all secondary schools and universities. However, Youth Leads UK have found that in the months since the program was launched, only 40% of schools had taken the opportunity for free products, which left many without access to tampons, pads and other sanitary products to help keep them safe, healthy and confident in their menstrual cycles.
Youth Leads UK is also offering free self-care packages to those in need. The packs include disposable sanitary napkins, tampons and other self-care items that one would enjoy. These include shampoo, conditioner and deodorant, which are all often difficult for some to access without the reliable transportation in place.
CEO Saeed Atcha MBE DL, mentioned that they don’t want a world in which young people are worried about affording period products. It’s important that the government in the UK can provide free products but the take-up of this initiative isn’t there yet.
Saeed also went on to say that there’s still an uncomfortable feeling felt by those needing the products but not wanting to ask for them. Youth Leads UK wants to find out why so that they can recommend the right long-term improvements, whilst providing short-term solutions in the form of self-care packs.
Period poverty is a huge problem across the world, particularly in the US. If you’re looking to help in this initiative, Period Proud is accepting donations, with just $21 needed to ensure someone gets access to a month’s worth of period supplies. Regardless of their gender identity, their position in society and background – everyone deserves access to the supplies needed to keep them healthy and supported throughout their cycle.