Low-income residents in the Utrecht suburb of Nieuwegein are now able to pick up free menstrual products at an information point of the local public health office.
City residents whose incomes are up to 25% over the level of basic social welfare are entitled to a Nieuwegein Stadspas, which offers reduced prices on sporting and cultural activities, and allows them to take sanitary napkins and tampons free of charge.
‘This is a measure that may seem small, but can mean a lot,’ Nieuwegein deputy mayor Guido Bamberg told local broadcaster RTV Utrecht. Bamberg, who is responsible for combatting poverty, said the city has seen an uptick in residents who are unable to afford these products.
Esra Cebbar, coordinator of the Nieuwegein Stadspas, said in the same interview that she has heard stories from locals about girls who are unable to go to school due to this. ‘It should not be the case that the girls and women in our municipality suffer from this,’ she said.
Nieuwegein joins other municipalities including Rotterdam, Elst and Westland in providing free sanitary products. This month, Scotland became the first country in the world to provide such products free at a national level.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam has announced that low income households will receive a subsidy of €275 per device for energy-efficient washing machines and fridges.
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