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"Some students don't come to school during their period because they don't have access to or can't afford period products..."
According to Education Minister Jan Tinetti, the New Zealand government has sustained its initiative of providing complimentary period products to schools this year. As part of this effort, more than 1 million period product packages have been distributed to educational institutions nationwide.
"Some students don't come to school during their period because they don't have access to or can't afford period products. Providing them for free at school means students are more comfortable and more likely to want to be there," Tinetti said while visiting Wellington's Naenae College to hear first-hand information on how students are benefiting from the program.
Presently, Naenae College is one among 2,126 educational institutions actively engaged in the government's initiative.
The educational institution has recently procured a total of 4,164 packages of feminine hygiene goods and subsequently situated four apparatuses for dispensing these products within its premises.
Ka pai @jantinetti �� We were proud to be apart of this kaupapa that took years, and we’re beyond thrilled to see this initiative reach the million mark. Strides, like these, towards education equity will always be fundamental to our mahi �� pic.twitter.com/CvwztROOoj
"Young people should not be missing out on time learning in the classroom or other events and opportunities because they aren't comfortable going to school while on their period," Tinetti said, adding it also goes some way towards reducing costs on families.
The Ministry of Education is engaged in the development of a range of resources aimed at providing support to young people, with a view to mitigating the social stigma associated with menstruation.
"Even today, periods aren't discussed openly, and can make young people in particular feel stressed and insecure," Tinetti said, adding the program has an educational element to help young people to understand and embrace their bodies.
The first resource of the collection is the comic book entitled "It's all good!," which is suitable for students who have commenced or are in the early stages of menstruation. According to the minister, the resource is presently accessible via the website of the Ministry of Education and schools have the option to place orders for physical copies.