School Manager of Marie Genevieve de Weever School Stuart Johnson (centre) and Renata Richardson from Prime Distributors (at Johnson’s immediate left) were on hand on Saturday, March 4, for the presentation from “Teen Times”.
~ Prime Distributors renews its commitment ~
HOPE ESTATE--Marie Genevieve de Weever School was the latest beneficiary of Teen Times’ Period Poverty project and the first public elementary school that expressed a need for the initiative.
Teen Times is supported by Prime Distributors in its ongoing project which they hope will one day result in the government and/or school boards making sanitary items available free in schools, according to a press release on Sunday.
In addition to the products, Teen Times also provides small pantries to the schools in which to store the products. Teen Times and Prime are on pace to supply another public elementary school, Oranje School, and one more secondary school this school year.
According to the release, period poverty is defined as inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, including but not limited to sanitary products. “It is well established that meeting one’s basic needs – food, water, shelter – is the necessary foundation for health and well-being. Menstrual hygiene is also considered a basic need.”
On Saturday last, the group presented boxes of female hygiene products to School Manager of Marie Genevieve de Weever School, Stuart Johnson, who expressed his profound gratitude for this initiative. “I am proud of this project because several girls within our school have identified this need,” Johnson said, adding that as a former Teen Times member himself, it was great to see that the group’s legacy of important community service continues.
Also present was Renata Richardson from Prime Distributors, who has been on board with the initiative since planning started in 2020. She said it is good to see that the government, parents and students have recognised the importance of an issue like period poverty because of Teen Times’ initiative. She said as sad as students going through period poverty is, Prime Distributors will proudly do its part to always support the initiative.
Coordinator of Teen Times Rochelayne Rommy-Richardson explained that the ultimate goal is for the government and school boards to not dismiss the issue, especially when they don’t really know what’s happening on the ground. “Establish programmes and discuss how the issue can be tackled. When we launched this project, our aim was the secondary schools. Today we have elementary schools contacting us, because the situation is that serious for a particular group of students,” she said.
“It is very sad to hear what students have to use as alternatives because they cannot afford female hygiene products. We hear and see the heart-breaking stories and we are committed to doing as much as we can for as long as we can. Prime Distributors and its brands have been a great partner in this initiative and the prime example of a great corporate citizen,” she added.
Teen Times submitted a parliamentary proposal in September 2021, which has been followed up on by Members of Parliament Angelique Romou and Sarah Wescot-Williams, with the latter tabling a proposal for Parliament’s Committee of Education and Youth to take the position that government should rapidly make use of the public health ordinance and issue a decree containing general measures for how it will tackle period poverty in the country.
Teen Times said it strongly feels that period poverty especially prevents low-income menstruators from bleeding with dignity. The group said that the reason this public health crisis is yet to be addressed is largely due to stigma.
Stigma associates menstruation with uncleanliness and disgust instead of recognising it as biologically healthy and normal. The shame associated with periods prevents persons from talking about it, which in turn averts dialogues about access to products and even the ingredients in pads and tampons.