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6 April, 2022

School takes lead on dignity

A LOCAL high school has taken the next steps to ending period stigma within the community and installing a brand-new dignity vending machine to dispense free sanitary items discreetly and quickly.

By Ellie Fink

Mareeba High School deputy principal Lesa Moro with Grade 9 students Velenia, Chloe and Kaydee are taking the first steps to debunking period stigma in high schools with a new dignity vending machine and period talks.

Mareeba State High School has recognised the “taboo” when talking about periods and how menstruators within the school and wider community struggle to speak upon the topic, especially if they need items themselves. 

Whilst MSHS already has free period products available from their admin office, there is still a struggle behind asking for them when “aunt flo” pays an unexpected visit. 

Deputy principal and dedicated member of the Days for Girls project, Lesa Moro, jumped onto the project as soon as it came to light, expressing her excitement for such an opportunity. 

“It was a promotion through Department of Education, and I saw it and I thought that would be a great initiative in our school for our girls because for a lot of them period products are too expensive,” she said. 

“We hope it will help encourage them to come to school even when they have their periods and help boost their confidence when they get their period at school. 

“I’ve already been in the bathroom (where the vending machine will be built in) and spoken to the girls, and they have already said they’re pretty excited.” 

Grade 9 student Velenia Musso heard the exiting news from Ms Moro a few weeks ago and expressed her gratefulness for initiatives such as this. 

“It’s really exciting and I think it’ll be a really good thing for our school,” she said. 

“Not all people have access to pads and tampons, so it’ll be really good to have them there for everyone.” 

Alongside this project, students will have to opportunity to have free “period talks” for students to help menstruators speak openly about that time of the month. 

The talk will also raise topics on the hygiene issues with periods and help educate and destigmatise periods to help keep girls safe. 

“Overall, it’s a super positive thing for our girls and for our community,” Ms Moro said. 

“It has the potential for girls to start the conversations and ask and give items without the stigma and embarrassment behind it.” 

There is no set date yet to when the machine will make it to the MSHS female toilet blocks just yet, but staff are already preparing for the installation over the next few months.

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