Hygiene products are provided to schoolgirls in Aizkraukle and Balvu districts

Hygiene products are provided to schoolgirls in Aizkraukle and Balvu districts
Hygiene products are provided to schoolgirls in Aizkraukle and Balvu districts

This month, a pilot project is being implemented in two regions of Latvia – Aizkraukle and Balvo – during which female hygiene products are provided free of charge to school students. An initiative to introduce free hygiene products in all Latvian schools is being promoted in the country, the aim of the pilot project is to find out what the approximate quantity and cost of the necessary products could be. The representatives of the schools involved in the trial evaluate the initiative positively.

Aizkraukle district secondary school is one of the 25 educational institutions that provide free feminine hygiene products to schoolgirls this month. In the pilot project, which will run until the end of May, 13 schools in Aizkraukle district and 12 schools in Balvu district have participated, placing packages and tampons in freely accessible places. In the high school of Aizkraukle district, the products are in one of the girls’ toilets – in a specially created box, and the schoolgirls express the opinion that such an opportunity should always be available, because there are situations when hygiene products are not taken with them at the right moment. Evelina, a 12th-grade student of Aizkraukle district secondary school: “I have faced such inconveniences myself. The main reason is the feeling of shame, which very often does not leave young people. This is a great opportunity that you can go on your own, you don’t need to go to the teacher to tell your problem or to the school nurse, but you can go and get everything by yourself.”

Alina, 11th-grade student of Aizkraukle regional high school: “It often happened that periods appeared unexpectedly, I didn’t know what to do, I had to ask my classmates. It’s a bit awkward, I think, to have to ask everyone. You can go to the nurse, of course, ask, but I think it’s a bit difficult if, for example, you’re on the third floor and you have to run to the basement, and maybe you don’t have that much time, maybe white pants. I think that this project should be developed further.”

The necessary goods for the pilot project were provided free of charge by two brands of hygiene products. Such an initiative is very useful, especially for more shy schoolgirls. Sanita Kuharenko, a nurse at the secondary school in Aizkraukle district: “It’s nice that the girls now have this opportunity not to turn to me, for example, although they used to do it now and then, but now they have the opportunity to go and pick it up themselves if necessary.”

Balvu vocational and general secondary school is also involved in the project. Interest in this opportunity was visible already in the first days. “Before that, I had a meeting with the girls, I informed them what the project was and where it was all located. They respond positively to it. Practically I have used 40 units. A week has passed,” says Anna Schulmeister, a nurse at Balvu Vocational and General Secondary School.

Although the schoolgirls themselves are shy to talk about it, studies show that one out of six girls in Latvia has missed school at least once because they could not buy hygiene products due to the family’s financial circumstances. This is one of the reasons why the cooperation network of Latvian Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations is pushing the initiative for free feminine hygiene products in all schools. The government has promised to potentially implement this idea from next year, but the pilot project is being conducted with the aim of finding out what the quantity and cost of the necessary products could be, as well as the most convenient ways of delivery and placement. The results will be compiled and presented to the government this summer.

The article is in Latvian


Tags: Hygiene products schoolgirls Aizkraukle Balvu districts


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