Student funds free sanitary products on campus using university loan
Daisy Wakefield, 22, said she took action after her university failed to cover the cost itself.
A woman has spent a portion of her university loan to pay for free sanitary products for students who cannot afford them.
Daisy Wakefield, a drawing and print student at the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol, spent £100 on 40 hand-decorated boxes of tampons, which she is distributing on campus.
The 22-year-old said she took action after her university failed to cover the cost itself.
Announcing the project on Instagram, she wrote: “After many emails saying ‘I’ll get back to you’ or ‘I’m not sure’, I’m tired of UWE Bristol not addressing the crisis that is period poverty in the UK.
“I, Daisy Wakefield, have been forced to take matters into my own hands by supplying free sanitary products on all UWE Bristol campuses.”
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FREE SANITARY PRODUCTS FOR ALL!!! After many emails saying “I’ll get back to you” or “I’m not sure” I’m tired of @uwebristol not addressing the crisis that is period poverty in the UK. Therefore, I, Daisy Wakefield have been forced to take matters into my own hands by supplying FREE sanitary products on all @uwebristol campuses. (Due to funding this with my student loan there is limited supply, so head to your nearest UWE bathroom soon if you are in need).
Ms Wakefield also posted a time-lapse video of six hours she spent packaging the boxes to put in the university bathrooms.
She told Press Association: “My message is ultimately to destigmatise period poverty and menstruation as a whole. As a society we have been told to be quiet about our periods.
“It’s no wonder people feel they can’t speak up about suffering with period poverty when so many can’t even talk about their period.”
In a statement, UWE Bristol said: “Period poverty is a global issue and we’re pleased UWE Bristol students are passionately advocating for change.
“The university does not currently supply free sanitary products on campus, though we would be pleased to meet with students to understand if there is an emerging need for this.”
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Imagine this for about 6 hours and that sums up how I spent my Monday... If one student using their student loan can provide, hand make and assemble 40 sanitary boxes, @uwebristol most definitely can. I believe in you @uwebristol PLEASE make positive change and supply FREE sanitary products for all students 💕
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced during March’s Spring Statement that the Government will fund a scheme to provide free sanitary products in secondary schools from September this year.
This follows the NHS pledge to make tampons and sanitary towels available to patients on request from “summer” this year.
Commenting on the Government’s promise, Labour MP Dawn Butler said: “This is a victory for all those who have campaigned for an end to period poverty.
“It’s a disgrace that period poverty exists in the sixth richest country in the world.”
Ms Wakefield’s project comes after years of campaigning for an end to period poverty from charities including Bloody Good Period, which supplies sanitary products for refugees and asylum seekers in London and Leeds.
Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Layla Moran said: “It is appalling that students and campaigners such as Daisy Wakefield are having to take matters into their own hands to ensure that no woman misses out on education because of period poverty.”
Research from children’s charity Plan International UK found that one in 10 girls cannot afford to buy menstrual products.
A separate survey found that more than 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty.
Ms Wakefield said: “We need to look at the success of universities such as; Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Exeter, who provide free sanitary products and look at how it’s supported their students.”