Hampstead Garden Suburb pupil’s petition for free tampons in schools

Amika has set up a crowdfunding page to petition for sanitary products for those who cannot afford t

Amika has set up a crowdfunding page to petition for sanitary products for those who cannot afford them - Credit: Archant

A Hampstead Garden Suburb pupil has launched a campaign to stop girls missing school because they cannot afford expensive sanitary products.

Amika George, 17, an A-level student at Henrietta Barnet School, was shocked when talking to girls her age at an IT course who told her they were forced to stay at home or use hand towels or even socks during menstruation as tampons or pads were way beyond their budget.

She has started a petition with the hashtag #freeperiods which already has 2200 signatures calling on the government to provide free sanitary products for girls from low-income families who are eligible for free school meals.

She said: “I found it so shocking that bright girls my age are missing school as they cannot afford such a basic thing.

“These girls were getting into debt every month and one told me her mum had a choice between feeding her and her two younger brothers or providing money for her to get tampons.

“It is beyond shocking that this is happening in our society in north west London.”

Her petition says: “We can, and must, change this. Period Poverty must go. Mrs May, we are going to lobby your Government so that free sanitary products are provided to all girls on free school meals. This situation simply cannot persist.”

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Amika, from Edgware, first became aware of the issue when the UK charity Freedom4Girls, set up toh provides sanitary products to women and girls in Kenya, was approached for donations by a school in Leeds, which had become concerned about the number of girls recurrently absent from school.

“The shame of using socks, or taping tissue to underwear is not just unacceptable, but can seriously jeopardise the health of these young girls.”

Amika believes the issue is relatively unheard of because with the taboo surrounding periods, girls do not feel comfortable speaking about it.

Her petition says: “We need to escort period shame out of the door and mobilise the government to stop marginalising girls from the lowest income backgrounds.”

The petition has been retweeted by Channel 4 newsreader Cathy Newman.

See the petition here