Period stigma is all too real around the world, but one group of Donegal students is starting important conversations on the topic.
A team of Transition Year students at Rosses Community School Dungloe are this year advancing a project called “Power of Periods”.
The YSI (Young Social Innovators) are working together to help remove the stigma over periods and try to normalise it for every girl, as it is a very normal thing that every girl has to experience.
The group are already making great progress with their goals. They were invited to the YSI Dragons’ Den to pitch their idea on 10th February for the chance to gain funds, means, and sponsorship.
“Power of Periods” centres on shattering the stigma around the menstrual cycle and improving access to products. The students are beginning their quest locally, starting in their own school.
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Team members Orlaith McDaid and Sophie O’Donnell told Donegal Daily: “We are currently working on providing dispensers for our school bathrooms to provide students with free sanitary products.
“We feel strongly that sanitary products are essential items and are not luxury items.
“We believe that everyone should have easy access to these products, free of charge, and have dignity and the feeling of privacy when accessing these products. At present our school provides these items free of charge but we are without the dispensers and have had to go to our school office and ask for the product we need. From the feedback we have received from our students body it can be quite awkward and inconvenient to access these items this way.
“We also intend to provide these dispensers in our gender-neutral toilet, as well as the female and disabled toilets to respect the rights and dignity of all in particular our lgbtq+ community. These dispensers will accept tokens so that students will be able to access them free of charge.”
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The team is also creating an educational pack for National school students to learn about menstruation in an age-appropriate way.
“We hope this will too help reduce the stigma and embarrassment that younger students may feel around their periods,” the students said.
“Power of Periods” has the potential to grow further, and the TY team are bringing their ideas to the media and public representatives to spread the word.
“We are currently getting in contact with multiple TDs and councillors around our local area of Donegal, to get in touch with the Minister of Health to pass a similar bill that was passed by the Scottish Parliament, to make period products available for free for people who need it,” they said.
All focus is now on 10th February, as the students pitch to the YSI Dragons Den for access to the YSI Social Innovation Fund. It is hoped that “Power of Periods” will get the positive backing it needs to move forward and impact other schools.
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