Following Jenna Peacock’s appeal to Jaguar Land Rover’s charity committee, the company has donated £1,000 to The Red Box Project – a charity which provides free sanitary products to local schools.
Imagine living without something
you need. Imagine the discomfort, the shame, the isolation. Imagine being a
teenager who is unable to afford sanitary products. The widespread lack of
access to these items, dubbed ‘period poverty’, inspired Jenna, who works in
the Plant Quality and Launch team at Solihull, to act.
It was whilst scrolling through
Facebook that Jenna came across The Red Box Project. The scheme encourages
people to either fund or donate boxes of sanitary products, including spare
tights and underwear that are sent to local schools. Jenna discovered on the
website that a Red Box had been given to Chelmsley Wood’s, John Henry Newman
Catholic College, the secondary school that a number of her cousins and nieces
attend and that she herself went to.
Jenna considered the shape her life
would have taken if she, or a member of her family, had struggled with period
poverty and its consequences. Many young females experiencing period poverty,
feel the need to miss school due to a having a lack of sanitary products. This
separates them from their peers and means they can fall behind - jeopardising
their education and mental health. Their physical health can also suffer when
they use unhygienic alternative products.
Solihull’s £1,000 donation will
help more than one hundred students over twelve months, making school a safe
place where they can make the most of their education. Jenna explained, “It allows young people to
not have fear. It is vital that students feel secure in their school
environment so they can focus on learning and building their futures.”
Did you know that over
twenty-five percent of women have been absent from school or work due to period
poverty at some point in their life?
Fortunately, change is occurring.
In March 2019 the government announced that free sanitary products will be
provided in all primary and secondary schools in England. This has created more
awareness and opened up discussions. According to Jenna these conversations
have started to dissolve the stigma surrounding periods and she hopes that soon
the topic will no longer be taboo.
However, the government’s plan will
not come into effect until January 2020, which is where the Red Box Project
will continue to play a pivotal role in our community. Jenna urges people to get involved and find
out more about the schools and youth groups they can support in their borough,
questioning “who can make those changes better than people within communities?”
With enough support, young people can and will thrive.