Bundaberg State High School and Kepnock State High School are the first in the region to receive a Dignity Vending Machine.
On Friday Education Minister Grace Grace announced the two Bundaberg schools would receive a Dignity Vending Machine to provide students access to free sanitary products at school.
Bundaberg State High School Principal Chris Gill welcomed the announcement saying the initiative was an important way of supporting local students so that they could keep a focus on their education.
“Having a Dignity Vending Machine at our school will be of great value so that our students can access what they need independently and in a dignified manner, supporting their self-esteem,” Mr Gill said.
“It will help students and families with day-to-day challenges in a very practical way and complement the school’s existing programs such as having a Youth Health Nurse available to educate and support students as well.”
Founder of Share the Dignity Rochelle Courtenay welcomed the announcement of the successful schools.
“Imagine a world where menstruation is not a barrier to education,” Rochelle said.
“I am so proud to see the installation of Dignity Vending Machines in Queensland schools to ensure students can easily access period products when they need them.
“I am also excited to be able to educate boys and girls on menstruation with Period Talk, our menstruation education program, which will help us create long term change and guide us towards a future where period is not a taboo word.”
Minister Grace said the State Government was investing up to $2.5 million in a partnership with the Share the Dignity charity to provide 120 state and non-state schools across Queensland with a Dignity Vending Machine.
“It’s great to be able to share this news with schools during Queensland Women’s Week,” Ms Grace said.
“Access to sanitary products and misplaced stigma around periods should never be barriers to learning.
“We want all students to be confident to attend school every day. Giving students access to free sanitary products can make a real difference, especially for students whose families are doing it tough, have unstable accommodation or are fleeing domestic and family violence.”
“This initiative supports Share the Dignity’s aim to distribute period products to women, girls, and anyone who menstruates who needs support.
“For those schools that missed out this time around, or didn’t get an EOI in, there will be another opportunity to apply for the remaining machines later this year.”
Minister Grace said the partnership with Share the Dignity wasn’t just about access to free sanitary products.
“The partnership also means that all Queensland schools have access to the Period Talk education program, which is designed to educate students in Year 5 to Year 8 about menstruation and the impact of periods,” Ms Grace said.
Bundaberg MP Tom Smith said from his experience as a teacher, he knows how challenging it is for young people going through their teenage years, especially now with the exposure of social media and technologies.
“Any investment into making our schools a safe space for all students and especially young women is a worthwhile investment,” Mr Smith said.
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