KAMLOOPS — For most women in Canada, a period is sometimes inconvenient, but it doesn't typically prevent them from getting an education or employment. But in some third world countries — it does.
Terry-Lynn Stone is the president of "Days for Girls" Canada, an organization that is working to ensure girls all over the world have access to quality feminine hygiene, especially on International Day of the Girl.
"In a lot of third world countries the girls don't go to school because they literally don't have access," Stone says. "Either they just can't afford it or it's considered unimportant, and some girls aren't allowed to go to school when they have their periods and actually have to sit in menstruation huts, or sit on cardboard or something for the whole five days."
Stone says many girls end up dropping out of school because they simply cannot keep up.
"In a lot of Third World countries, the girls don't go to school because they literally don't have access," she says. "Either they just can't afford it or it's considered unimportant, and some girls aren't allowed to go to school when they have their periods and actually have to sit in menstruation huts, or sit on cardboard or something for the whole five days."
"The minute they don't go to school for five days they get behind, once they're behind they don't want to go to school, then they drop out and guess what happens to them. Either they get moved into the sex trade or they get married off and the whole cycle starts again."
But Days for Girls is attempting to end that cycle by putting together kits for girls to carry with them while on their period. At Hudson's Bay in Aberdeen Mall today, Oct. 11, the goal was to pack 300 kits. The kits contain brand new underwear, shields that snap around the underwear, washable fleece pads, and a wash cloth.
"We only use new fabric, we make really quality stuff, because these kits have to last the girls three years," Stone says. "We don't replace them in under three years. And we go back to where we've handed them out to make sure that we research it properly, and that these kits are lasting."
Stone says it was on a delivery trip to Sri Lanka that a mother told her just how great an impact these kits have.
"She said, 'you don't know what you've done. Every month my daughter asks me please, please buy me pads so I can go to school, and every month I have to decide do I buy her pads or do I put food on the table? You have changed that'."
The Days for Girls team will be at The Bay until 7:00 p.m. tonight. For more information on how to get involved you can contact Terry-Lynn Stone at [email protected], or to donate go to canadahelps.org.
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