Words by Kate Thompson
A project to ensure every girl has access to sanitary wear has led to a change in the law in the UK, and raised awareness across the globe. Joint founder of The Red Box Project is Anna Miles, a teacher at Mayville High School in Southsea, told us all about it.
How did The Red Box Project start and why?
In March 2017, myself and three friends founded The Red Box Project. This followed reports in the media which exposed the connection between young women missing out on their education for the same amount of time, every month. The connection was then made that for some young people, access to menstrual products was not available to them and in many cases, this led to students deciding not to attend school because of the shame and embarrassment they felt.
How successful have you been?
As soon as we launched, we received emails from all over the world. Together, we now have over 5,300 active red boxes, including every secondary and primary state school in our founding city; an incredible achievement by our Portsmouth volunteer coordinator, Rebecca Cave.
What have you achieved so far?
We have affected real change in fighting for the rights of our young people through the recent announcement from our government in England to provide the support we have been delivering, from early next year. This is something which fills us with a huge amount of pride. Governments in England, Wales, and Scotland have made this commitment and so, whilst our projects based in the UK are beginning to slow down operation, we will remain open for our projects based overseas who are still fighting for this change.
What is your legacy?
Standing up and fighting for equality can lead to real change. Our volunteer coordinators have worked unbelievably hard, on the ground, to make a difference, and they really and truly have.