Topics: Education, Health

School counters period shame with free sanitary products

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

Auckland's Kelston Girls' College is fighting the stigma and anxiety associated with periods through its fully-funded clinic that provides free sanitary products and GP visits for students. The principal says students now feel secure knowing their needs will be met.

A necessity that for some students is a luxury, now available free of charge.

Kelston Girls’ College Counselor and Tari Hauora coordinator Angeline Lal say, "For the past 17-years that I have been associated with Kelston Girls', it's always been here, it's given to the girls for free. No questions asked. “We provide tampons, pads and undergarments if they need."

In April Pharmac rejected a request to fund women's hygiene products but at the same time Government provided $50,000 to charity KidsCan to provide sanitary products to schools, which included Kelston Girls' College.

Lal says the service should be available free of charge not only in schools but in every institution.

"It's really important that they get access to what we have here and also in terms of hygiene so that they can look after their health and so they can attend classes and learn."

Kelston Girls' College is a decile two school and the programme is available to all students here irrespective of family income.

Kelston Girls' College Tari Hauora receptionist Kim Jones says, “On average I would hand out a pack which comprises of two pads about 50 times a day. The attitude of the girls that come in here is they are very grateful. I think it's a great service because there is a lot of families out there that can't afford these products."

Two hundred and eight schools have benefited so far from the KidsCan funding boost, preventing cost remaining a barrier to students. KidsCan began assisting Kelston Girls' College last year.