On Tuesday 23 April, The Red Box Project visited Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) to provide the students with one of their red boxes, containing a range of free sanitary products.
The Red Box Project is a national initiative, founded two years ago in Portsmouth. Today, it has distributed more than 3,750 red boxes in educational institutions and works with organisations such as ALWAYS and TAMPAX towards ending period poverty and empowering girls.
Julia Clarke and Destiny Gomes, Early Years students at RuTC, raised concerns through the college’s Student Voice Forum about the impact of period poverty and its effect on students. According to the girls’ rights charity Plan International UK, one in ten girls is unable to afford sanitary products, one in seven struggles to afford it and almost 50% of girls miss entire school days because of their period.
Julia and Destiny found that, although sanitary vending machines are provided in many places, sometimes girls can be caught off guard by their period and do not have the coins needed for the machines. Having the option to get free sanitary products from the red box will help students on these occasions. The red box is placed in room C15, RuTC’s Welfare Hub.
Deborah Stephenson, RuTC’s Student Services Manager, said: “We are very excited to work together with the Red Box Project, who kindly agreed to support the college after the issue of period poverty was raised by Early Years students through our Student Voice processes. Period Poverty has damaging effects on girls’ futures, including their education. Having the red box in our college, we hope that no student has to miss lessons due to the lack of sanitary products and that this will support them in achieving their goals whilst with us.”