A project led by pupils to fight period poverty in their community has won them a national award.
Year 6 at South Hetton Primary picked the issue as one to campion out of a series of eight topics in the lead up to the end of their time with the school.
The children put together Panty Packs to gift to women after collecting donations in their friends, family and village residents and with the help of businesses, with the idea leading to a long-term collection point to continue the support has offered via a foodbank scheme.
Now their efforts have won them the national scrapbook competition for the Young Citizens Go Givers’ Make a Difference Campaign, after first collecting the North East prize, and led to the launch of a long-term collection at Holy Trinity Church to help women in need in their community.
It has also been championed by Easington MP Grahame Morris, who also used the fact collections have to exist at all as evidence something must be done about the issue in a question during the Women and Equalities session held in the House of Commons.
Teacher Tamsin Hill said: “The children learn about periods in Year 5, so they find out about the biology, and then in Year 6 they start to learn more about personal hygiene and more about the changes girls and boys go through.
We explained to them very simply about the impact of this on those who cannot afford basic sanitary products.Tamsin Hill
“We explained to them very simply about the impact of this on those who cannot afford basic sanitary products.
“They handled it very well and we also wanted to help get rid of the stigma, so we don’t want the girls to feel any shame about their periods and want all the children to feel comfortable when it comes up, but also for the boys to grow up and refuse to buy tampons for their future partners or daughters and be comfortable about doing that.”
Mr Morris visited the school to congratulate the children on their project.
Appearing at the Parliamentary question session, he said: “Isn’t outrageous in 2018 that period poverty exists at all?
“Isn’t it an indictment of this government’s policy of austerity that school’s like South Hetton Primary School in my constituency are having to improvise and provide pants packs to ensure that students from low income families never have to miss a school day for the want of sanitary products?”
He has highlighted how while Scottish and Welsh Governments are working to tackle period poverty, England needs to catch up, with Labour making repeated calls to provide funding for free products in schools, at food banks and homeless shelters.
Make A Difference Challenge is part of the Go-Givers programme from Young Citizens and invites youngsters to come up with a project which can help their community by raising awareness, fundraising or taking direction action.