FOUR Fraser Coast schools will receive Dignity Vending Machines to improve access to sanitary products and help remove barriers to learning.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the machines would be installed at Aldridge State High School, Hervey Bay State High School, Maryborough State High School and Urangan State High School.
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Ms Grace said the Queensland Government was investing up to $2.5-million in a partnership with Share the Dignity to provide 120 state and non-state schools with the machines.
“It’s great to be able to share this news with schools during Queensland Women’s Week,” Ms Grace said.
“Access to sanitary products and misplaced stigma around periods should never be barriers to learning.
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“We want all students to be confident and 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 violence.”
Around 200 schools across the state applied to have the Dignity Vending Machines.
“From that we have selected 62: 53 state, 5 Catholic and 4 Independent schools,” Ms Grace said.
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Schools that missed out this time round or did not get an expression of interest in will be able to apply for the remaining machines later this year.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders 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 8 about menstruation and the impact of periods,” Mr Saunders explained.
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Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said, as a father of a daughter, that the program was a great initiative.
“The availability of the Dignity Vending Machines will ensure students have access to sanitary products when needed,” he said.
Hervey Bay State High School Principal Julie Learoyd said she was thrilled to hear the school was a successful recipient of the initiative.
“We are very happy to receive a Dignity Vending Machine for our school as an important extra support for our students and families, in addition to our existing programs to provide groceries and uniforms in cases of genuine need,” Ms Learoyd said.
“One of the biggest barriers for young students is ‘having to ask’ for sanitary products, so the Dignity Vending Machine will provide dignity and privacy by allowing students to access what they need in a discrete way without having to ask someone.”
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Founder of Share the Dignity Rochelle Courtney said she was proud the machines would be installed at the schools.
“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,” she said.
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