Cambridge student Amika George has been awarded an MBE for her campaign work against period poverty in the UK.
Starting her campaign, #FreePeriods, at 17, Amika aimed to end period poverty for young girls of the future, and her efforts have already resulted in the UK government funding educational institutes to provide free period products. Free Periods is now a not-for-profit organisation. Amika hopes that this move will prevent young girls from skipping school each month due to being unable to afford to essential health products, causing them to miss out on vital education which could widen the inequality gap. She hopes it will also mean that they are able to stay healthier with access to a greater range of sanitary products.
While Amika and her brother were born and brought up in the UK, her father Kishore hails from Pathanamthitta and mother Nisha from Kozhencherry, according to The Indian Express. This presented a moral dilemma for Amika when her named appeared on the honours list, with the changemaker stating “It wasn’t an easy one for me with the Honours system’s association to the (British) Empire and our Colonial past….” but felt it was important to accept the honour to show that young voices matter and can make a difference. George told reporters that she accepts the award “on behalf of my family and community who have silently had to tolerate racism over decades, who felt like they never fitted in, who never felt British enough, who never felt seen”.
Planetary sends huge congratulations to Amika and her family, what an inspiration!