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Periods / Claire Blackmore

These British Girls Are ‘Too Poor’ To Buy Sanitary Products

How would you feel if, every time your period arrived, you were forced to use sticky tape to keep tissue in your underwear. Or worse, put a sock in your knickers to soak up the blood? Sadly, this has become reality for some young women in the UK that are ‘too poor’ to buy tampons and pads.

Charity Freedom4Girls, an organisation that provides sanitary products to women in Kenya, found that a group of schoolgirls in Leeds were skipping school because they couldn’t afford vital period supplies.

“I wrapped a sock around my underwear just to stop the bleeding, because I didn’t want to get shouted at,” one of the girls told the BBC.

“I wrapped a whole tissue roll around my underwear, just to keep my underwear dry until I got home. I once Sellotaped tissue to my underwear. I didn’t know what else to do. I kept this secret up until I was 14 years old and then I started asking for help.

“I didn’t get any money because my mum was a single parent and she had five mouths to feed, so there wasn’t much leftover money in the pot to be giving to us.”

Another teenager admitted she had to take time off from lessons due to her lack of period education.

“When I went on my period I started taking time off school, because I didn’t know what was actually going on with my body. That made my attendance really low and I was getting in trouble.

“One day the teachers came to my house and asked why I’m not at school and they actually took me to school.

“I thought it was only happening to me… so I was scared and I wanted to stay at home.”

Freedom4Girls spokeswoman and public health worker Tina Leslie is sadly not surprised by the charity’s latest findings. She told BBC Radio’ 4’s Woman’s Hour: “We had an idea that there was something happening in schools. It’s linked to poverty – 25,000 visits to food banks just in Leeds last year. We need to give these girls dignity back.

“It’s happening in other schools. Teachers have told me they are buying towels to have just in case. If you’ve got no food, you’ve got no money for sanitary protection. If you have a mum with two teenage girls, that’s a lot of money each month when you’re on zero-hours contracts, benefits or low income.”

Want to help? Freedom4Girls have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the cause.

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