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Nearly 500,000 people in Poland cannot afford tampon pads, but Pink Boxes are set to change this reality, Source: Fundacja "Różowa Skrzyneczka"

Pink Boxes fight menstrual exclusion in Polish schools and libraries

Pink Boxes fight menstrual exclusion in Polish schools and libraries

Every fifth student in Poland misses school due to lack of sanitary materials, a local foundation claims

Earlier this week, Sopot became the latest Polish city to install a pink box on its territory. These simple devices exist in several cities across Poland and have a very important mission: to fight against menstrual exclusion and taboos.

Nearly 500,000 people in Poland cannot afford tampons and pads

Menstrual poverty, as it appears, affects a surprisingly high number of students in the EU country. As much as 21% of students in Poland have to miss school due to the lack of a sanitary pad.

Moreover, about 10% do not leave the house at all because of this period: these are the conclusions of Różowa Skrzyneczka (Pink Box) foundation, which strives for universal access to free personal hygiene products in public spaces.

Luckily, this situation is set to change, thanks to a nationwide initiative of the foundation that grows day by day: pink boxes. These are very simple devices similar to lockers, where one can place and take female hygiene products for free. Normally, they are placed in libraries and schools and are filled by people who have such products in excess. However, in many cities, such as Sopot, the local authorities are engaged in the process by financing the products and supporting the initiative in other ways.

Apart from the mere access to hygiene products during menstruation, treating it as a taboo subject is also a big problem,” said Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim, vice-mayor of Sopot, quoted on miasta.pl.

This is a normal monthly affair that affects half the population! Menstruation needs to be disenchanted so that girls and women do not feel ashamed or embarrassed in this situation, and hygiene measures are common in every toilet. This is not a marginal problem as it may seem. The research conducted by the Kulczyk Foundation shows that about half a million Polish women experience menstrual poverty!” she added.

The first pink boxes were installed in municipal libraries in the city, while soon more will appear in primary and secondary schools, upon the initiative of the Youth Council of Sopot. In each school, there will be a guardian who will make sure that the box is full and fulfils its role.

Pink Box started with the first container in Wroclaw’s Women's Rights Center in 2019. Since then, pink boxes have appeared in schools, dormitories, educational institutions, hospitals, cinemas, libraries and theatres. The foundation takes care of the expansion of the network by collecting donations for new boxes and sanitary materials, but they also ensure that each existing box has enough stock to serve its purpose.

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