The Cut reports that last week the Scottish government announced a plan to roll out a free sanitary offering for all schools ad universities across the country in what could cost around £5.2 million (R95 million).

Just before this plan was announced, a survey found that one in four of the 2000 female students surveyed experienced 'period poverty', i.e. they struggled with accessing sanitary products due to lack of funds. 

This also affected their studies, as some might skip class because they needed to stay home because of their period. 

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The reality is a large number of people cannot afford menstrual hygiene products and initiatives to help change that have been picking up globally, as well as in South Africa.  

Campaigns for women who cannot afford sanitary towels have increased and some supermarkets such as Pick n Pay try to do their part by having large sales on these items according to an article by City Press.

Just recently Stellenbosch University campaigned to have tampon tax removed. Earlier this year the KwaZulu-Natal government committed itself to distribute sanitary pads to poor schools in the province according to HuffPostSA. Many other initiatives exist but when a Twitter user posted that they found a sanitary towel dispenser in one of the toilets at the University of Pretoria (UP) we found the news exciting. 


The dispensers are being distributed by the UP Law House and the initiative was started earlier this year. 

We spoke to Caroline Letsoalo who is the vice chairperson of the UP Law House who explained that the idea came about last year October when the new committee came into office. It took longer for the initiative to get of the ground. "We started in July [this year] so it took a lot of planning and faculty management has been really helpful and the university," she explains.

Caroline also explains that they opted for dispensers because, "It is easier for students to access [them] rather than them coming to us personally and say 'I need a pad'." They can just go the bathroom and take what they need. 

READ MORE: How much does your period cost? Stellenbosch University calls for tampon tax to be eradicated

So how do they keep the dispensers stocked? Caroline says that they rely solely on donations from fellow students, staff members, faculty management and so on. Everyone is involved and that's what makes it work. Currently the dispensers are only available in the UP Law Faculty bathrooms but Caroline says that other people may do the same for other public bathrooms.

The process requires a lot of planning but one could purchase the dispensers from stores and they can make sure they are kept stocked by running donation campaigns. 

These dispensers can also come in handy on those days you're completely caught off-guard and don't have a sanitary towel.

Hopefully we'll being seeing a lot more of them across the country. 

How you can help using SnapScan: 

Donate towards tampons, pads or the menstrual cup by scanning these codes. 

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