Students of Wagga State High School now have access to free sanitary items thanks to an initiative by Share the Dignity.
A vending machine dispensing free packs of sanitary items was installed in the most central female bathroom at the school, allowing disadvantaged students to manage their periods with dignity.
The machine, known as a Pink Box, was funded with the help of Woolworths who donated five cents from every sanitary item sold over the month of August.
Wagga's Share the Dignity volunteer Megan McGrath said the movement had the power to make a big impact.
"At Share the Dignity we believe that access to pads and tampons is a right, not a privilege and that no girl should have her education interrupted due to not being able to access pads and tampons," she said.
"Starting out with a focus on homeless women and sufferers of domestic violence, we soon realised that more people and younger people than previously thought were in need of help."
While schools were an important focus, Ms McGrath said access to Pink Boxes was not limited to where they could be installed.
"We all get our period once a month and some kids were having to have three or four days out of school which is a lot of time away from learning, especially when they're often already disadvantaged," she said.
"We encourage any schools or community centres like libraries to contact us if they have a need for it, and really encourage corporate sponsors too as a machine costs nearly $10,000 by the time it's created, filled and installed."
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Wagga High's Year 12 Leadership Team members Laura Phillips, Montana Dasey and Belle Maher said the initiative was just what the school needed.
"A lot of girls here can't afford sanitary items, but also we have a lot of EAL/D students who have come from overseas so there family is still starting out here and can't afford it themselves," Miss Phillips said.
"Because of their culture too they might not be comfortable asking someone to borrow an item, or even know how to ask because a lot don't speak much English yet."
Miss Dasey added that it allowed students more freedom.
"It's a great, accessible way to help out all the girls at school, and it's discreet," she said.
The vending machines also acted as a necessary backup for those taken by surprise, according to Miss Maher.
"Even on a busy morning if you forget to take your own sanitary products to school, it's so convenient that it's just there," she said.
"A lot of us are comfortable asking our friends or someone for one but we're in year 12 and we know everyone, so others might not be so comfortable doing that."
Manager of Wagga's Woolworth's, Lauren Rodway, said they were also able to provide the much needed products through public donation bins in their stores too.
"We know that small dignities can make a big difference and we are so pleased to have been able to work with Share the Dignity to fund the Pinkbox at Wagga State High to help local women in need," she said.
Wagga High's Deputy Principal Tania Maddison said the vending machine's installation had been positively received by the students.
"We see the value of this program as sanitary products are a right not a privilege for all students regardless of their financial situation," she said.