The kids are alright
Today I spent the day going around three Dignity schools in Porirua.
For the past two years we've been supporting schools to have free access to pads and tampons for their students. Miranda and I have been doing the Dignity initiative part time for two and a half years, three weeks ago I started full-time as a General Manager allowing me to have more time to visit the schools we give free pads and tampons to.
I managed to start the day by not having my alarm turned on and three minutes to get ready and out the door. But we got there.
As a noob still on her restricted I was lucky enough to be going to an area with great public transport. A quick walk from the Porirua shopping centre saw me at the entrance of Mana College.
I got very lost and ending up almost walking into a PE class in full swing in the gym. After more time wandering around a lovely relief teacher Bruce helped me find my way to reception.
I met Jackie and sat with her in her cosy guidance office. Herself, the nurse and social worker next door hand out and offer sanitary items to the students there. They get products from us as well as Salvation Army to give to their students.
Jackie had kind eyes and a welcoming office. When we went to look at the storage cupboard she greeted the students hanging out at morning tea warmly. One of them asked who I was and then asked if I could take them out to Curry Heaven. Jackie said a lot of the students love their butter chicken.
“Next time”, I said.
Porirua College has been receiving sanitary items from Dignity for two years now and has noticed an increase in attendance with providing these items. I met with their wonderful principal who was kind enough to suggest other schools and areas that Dignity can provide items to.
With three daughter herself she knows alot of how access and dignity with these items is important. We talked about the alternative sanitary item products popping up and how options alongside education are so important.
I went to the bus stop to go to the final school for the day and bumped into a local who asked where I was off to. His sister was picking him up he said, “Do you want a ride?”
“Yes please!” I said.
His sister is a community support worker. We talked about the issues in the world and how hard it is for people these days.
I couldn't help but comment how overwhelming the problems of the world are and she said something I will never forget.
“One drop at a time I say and watch the mighty waterfall smash everything”.
We are all doing something that is a drop at a time, but enough of us doing that creates a movement. I'll never forget her kindness for giving me that ride and offering me wisdom I didn't know I needed.
Final school, Aotea College.
The social worker I met with has worked at the school for 11 years. Under her desk I spy our sanitary donation box, open and half empty with the products clearly being put to good use. It was surreal to see the boxes we give sitting in this office and realizing the impact the Dignity initiative has.
"It's like seeing your dreams come reality huh", she says in response to my surprise in seeing our donations I usually last see at our storage ready to be sent now here under her desk, being used the way we wanted them to be.
The girls take boxes at a time, mainly pads and it has been known to ensure attendance.
She told me that when she gets the call, “Your sanitary products have arrived” she always goes "Yay!" in response.
When I get taken back to reception I hear of this lolly bag system that students can get.
The lovely receptionist has lolly bags the girls can ask her for, they come up and say "Miss I'd like a 50 cent mix' and she discreetly hands over a small white bag with pads inside.
Just before I leave I get told to make sure to take my visitors sticker off, because you don't want that going through your wash and ending up on everything.
The principals, teachers, nurses, guidance counselors and receptionists at these schools have blown me away. As I walk out of the school I start to cry. Every drop counts.
The kids are alright.