The city of Liège has expanded its “Copains à bord” meal programme for struggling students to include hygiene products like shampoo and soap, as well as free feminine hygiene products for young women.
“Copains à bord,” or “Friends on board,” was launched last December to provide financially insecure students with healthy, €1 takeaway meals three times a week.
“The [coronavirus] crisis is also having an effect on students. Almost a third of them have lost their jobs,” explained the programme’s website, adding that for many of these young people a job is also a livelihood, because the income is vital for meeting their basic needs.
The initial programme’s purpose was twofold: to help financially struggling students afford healthy meals, and to provide people with disabilities an opportunity to integrate into the socio-professional world by taking jobs in the restaurant that produced the meals.
That restaurant is run by the non-profit organisation “En Ville et les Copains,” whose activities were brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic. Liège’s partnership allows them to resume their work while also meeting the needs of those struggling students.
The new €1 hygiene kits being offered by “Copains à bord” – now “Copains à bord et les copines aussi” or “Friends on board and girlfriends, too” – include shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper.
For women students, feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons will be free through an additional partnership with FPS (Femmes Prévoyantes Socialistes).