At International School Bangkok (ISB), High School students have the opportunity to create student-led clubs centered around their passions. From theater to robotics and everything in between, there’s a plethora of options available; if it doesn’t exist yet, students are welcome to start and lead a club that pursues their passions.
One such club in our High School is called Her Period Dignity; this club is a branch of the organization Her Period Dignity, which aims to empower women worldwide through advocacy, partnership, fundraising, and sustainable employment. The mission of this club is to destigmatize periods at ISB and to fundraise for HER sustainable sugarcane fiber pads. One of their major projects is Project Code Red; we sat down with three of the club officers, Ayaka, Minin, and Kashvi, to hear more about their project.
Why Code Red?
“The whole point of the project is [for] those who don’t have a pad at school and suddenly get their period to have something to rely on, and so Code Red is what came to us, you know because you have your period and you don’t have a pad it’s like alarms in your head, “Code Red! Code Red!” so that’s where the name came from,” said Ayaka.
“The Code Red Project is one we initiated to provide free pads in the Middle and High School bathrooms and we did so through talking to the financial manager of ISB and then organizing the logistics with the housekeeping,” said Minin.
While the pads are available in the Nurse’s office, students sometimes still feel too uncomfortable or embarrassed to go and ask a nurse, a teacher, or a friend for one. Through Project Code Red, the Her Period Dignity club has brought pads directly to the students so they are readily available in both the Middle School and High School bathrooms.
Kashvi said, “We feel that the most important change is for individuals at ISB to feel safe and comfortable when they are menstruating and they are on campus, because we understand how exhausting having a period can be and also just to feel like you are backed up and you are safe.”
What Impact Has Project Code Red Had?
The Her Period Dignity club sent out a survey for initial feedback and found that people appreciated the openness of the project and how it was not taboo. “We have pads available at the Nurse’s, but we still feel like they’re hidden, and this should be something that’s talked about because it’s so normal, like about half the ISB population deals with this,” said Kashvi.
“We received lots of positive feedback on this project and found that the openness of the project, because the pads were genuinely just right there on the basin, it was really demanding attention, and it’s like ‘this is normal, this is real and it’s here’ and so we think that that’s a really good message to send out to all of our students regardless of gender or whether they have a period or not. To understand that a period is normal, it’s here,” said Ayaka.
As part of Project Code Red, the Her Period Dignity club also hosted “period parties with the Middle School classes in order to talk to them about periods and destigmatize periods because they might not know as much about it and in those parties we would introduce to them that, like our Code Red project and how there’s pads in the Middle School bathrooms if they need it,” said Minin. Kashvi, Ayaka, and Minin together with their club are not only modeling the normalization of periods but are actively destigmatizing them by connecting with and supporting their fellow classmates.
Kashvi said, “we feel that adding these products in the 5th grade bathrooms is very important and also having tampons as we do acknowledge that other individuals feel more comfortable using tampons and having these tampons really implemented in the sports complex bathrooms as we understand that athletes feel more comfortable using tampons when they are menstruating and having these products in the faculty, in the staff member bathrooms, like for anyone who visits the ISB campus additionally also in the gender neutral bathrooms, and our top goal and our top like things that we look forward to is after we are able to successfully execute this project we would love to inspire other international schools in Bangkok to do the same thing.”