Words by Smiley Team
An award-winning education programme is being launched in Wales to teach school children about the different period products, and their environmental impact.
The teacher-training led initiative aims to fill a gap in the Welsh education system for period education and relevant resources.
“It’s great to see Rethink Periods expanding into Wales," says City to Sea’s Wales Partnership Manager, Hannah Osman. "Historically period education has been monopolised by big brands, only talking about the products that they sell. We don’t think this is fair – everyone has different needs, different bodies, different lifestyles and financial means."
“We believe that every child should receive unbiased, clear and accessible information about periods and period products so they can make a decision about what is right for them and their bodies.”
Big brands like Lil-lets, Tampax, Always and Bodyform, tampons and pads contain a significant amount of plastic, something that 68% of users who were surveyed by City to Sea were unaware of.
The organisation also found that 28% of product users flush tampons and 9% said they flush period pads and liners.
Every day in the UK, around 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million pads and 700,000 panty liners are flushed, costing water companies around £100 million each year.
Rethink Periods intends to raise awareness from an early age among period product users of the different options available to them, and the environmental context. Teachers will be provided with training and teaching materials at the end of March, as well as a free product demonstration box of alternative periods products worth over £200.
Those who have already completed the scheme and are ready to deliver the education in class have praised its value.
“The training gave me the confidence to push for an all inclusive period education package at our school, giving all menstruators the confidence to look at different products, get hands on and learn about what's out there," says teacher Samantha Nicholson-Hickling.
“The children were engaged in lessons and keen to learn how their periods linked into the bigger eco picture. The lessons were a safe space and all staff that delivered lessons felt prepared for anything.”
The programme will be available in both English and Welsh and promises to offer ‘unbiased’ training and education.
“Students have spoken openly about how confident they feel to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing their menstrual products and really feel that their concerns have been listened to. These lessons are exactly the kind of content that is needed to help bring PSHE teaching into current times," says another teacher, Alice Hinks.
The programme is now rolling out in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales and is available for any teachers, schools or school nurses that want to get involved.
LEARN: Find out more about Rethink Periods and how to get involved if you work in education here.
DONATE: Charity Period Poverty uses donations to purchase period products that they distribute to food banks across the UK. Find out how you can make a donation.