In a bid to tackle period poverty, a local voluntary organisation is aiming to supply all of the town’s secondary schools with free sanitary products.
Darlington Cares has launched its period poverty campaign, Darlo’s Big Sister, to help raise awareness of the problem and is looking to the town’s businesses to offer monetary support and product donations.
A survey by children’s charity Plan International UK found that one in 10 females aged 14 to 21 in Britain cannot afford sanitary towels or tampons, which has resulted in a number of girls missing school during their period.
Darlington Cares’ campaign is currently being piloted with secondary schools and colleges. The organisation is aiming to help as many girls as it can and is looking to learn from the educational establishments to understand the best way of distributing sanitary products to the girls who need them.
Darlington Cares’ Programme Officer, Chelsea Johnson is hoping to see girls benefiting from the scheme immediately.
“I found it hard to accept that period poverty is denying young women their right to an equal education, but after speaking to the head teachers of Darlington secondary schools they all thought this was an increasing issue.
“We feel passionate about this scheme because we believe all children have the right to an equal education. I hope more people realise that this is a real issue in today’s society.”
Jenny Chapman MP for Darlington is a keen supporter of Darlington Cares’ campaign and is hoping the work the organisation is doing will help young women in the town.
She said: “Over 137,000 girls missed school in 2017 across the UK, which disrupted their education because they couldn’t afford sanitary products. This is a shameful issue and it is happening here in Darlington.
“Tackling period poverty is one of my top local priorities. I am pleased to be working with Darlington Cares and we are currently collecting donations of sanitary products at my office. This is the first time we have attempted a project like this in Darlington, I hope we will do the issue justice, raise awareness and encourage other local organisations to get involved.”
If you would like to find out more about the campaign or how to make a donation, please email Chelsea.Johnson@darlington.gov.uk.
To find out more about Darlington Cares, its projects and volunteering opportunities visit www.darlingtoncares.co.uk.