Two local schools will be the first in the Moreton Bay Region to receive a Dignity Vending Machine that provides students access to free sanitary products. The initiative aims to remove barriers to learning for young women.
Education Minister Grace Grace made the announcement during Queensland Women’s Week last week.
Ms 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.
The machines will be installed at Deception Bay and Bribie Island State High Schools.
“Access to sanitary products and misplaced stigma around periods should never be barriers to learning,” Ms Grace said.
“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. I am delighted we had so much interest from schools, with over 200 applying.
“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.
State Member for Pumicestone Ali King said having a Dignity Vending Machine and Period Talk training at Bribie Island State High would be a big support to the wellbeing and mental health of young people.
“Our Pumicestone community is hugely supportive of Share the Dignity, so it’s wonderful to see these important resources delivered in our very own Bribie Island High,” Ms King said.
State Member for Bancroft Chris Whiting said Deception Bay High had an incredibly high level of care for many vulnerable students, and the initiative fit in well with the school’s ethos.
Bribie Island State High School Principal Sharon Cordiner said the announcement the school was to receive a Dignity Vending Machine was greatly appreciated by her and the whole school community.
“Having a Dignity Vending Machine at our school will provide a very private, dignified way of giving access to an important resource which supports female students in a really respectful manner,” Ms Cordiner said.
“A lot of our teachers advocated for this on behalf of our students, because we know how important it will be for our school community. It will help reduce the burden of life challenges some students face and assist in breaking down barriers in terms of equity.”
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. 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.”
To find out more about Share the Dignity, visit the website
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