In Kamloops, they’re developing dignity — kit by kit

One serges, another snips patterns and still another sews.

A group of mostly retired Kamloops women has been busy this past year, creating re-usable sanitary pads for girls in developing countries while simultaneously creating opportunities for them.

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“These kits get distributed worldwide to young girls in Third World countries that need them, that don’t have the money,” Trudi Backman told KTW.

“Their families — it’s either put food on the table or do I buy my daughter pads so she can go to school?”

Backman retired nearly four years ago and in January began hosting a group of five to 10 women at her home in Sahali, creating kits as a satellite group of the non-profit Days for Girls.

The organization, with help from people like Backman and her group, increases access to menstrual care and education with the goal of providing dignity, health and opportunity.

Backman said girls in developing countries often stay home from school when they have their period — about five days of the month.

In some places, girls are placed during that time in bleeding huts, while others use makeshift items as sanitary napkins.

Days for Girls kits include re-usable liners, washing supplies, storage bags and care and use instructions.

The kits last up to three years and have gone through nearly 30 different versions — with the most recent touted for using minimal water, saving money and providing comfort.

“It’s needed,” Backman said. “It’s just the humane thing to do.”

In the past year, Backman’s group has assembled more than 1,000 kits to be sent to girls in places like India, Sri Lanka and Africa.

This Thursday, the group will be putting together the kits at The Bay in Aberdeen Mall to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the organization and the United Nations International Day of the Girl.

The event, which is dubbed the Global Girls Festival, will see the group of women aim to complete about 300 kits at a table by the escalator in the department store from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Backman is inviting people to stop by and chat and make a donation to the cause for a chance to win a $640 set of luggage donated by The Bay.

Kits costs about $10 to make and each group is responsible for its own fundraising. Backman said while financial donations are always appreciated, the group also needs fabric (100 per cent cotton or flannel only), thread, face cloths, soaps and Ziplock freezer bags.

“We all have to help a little bit for the universe,” Backman said.

For more information or to donate, email trudicbackman@gmail.com, kamloopsbc@daysforgirls.org or search Days For Girls Kamloops on Facebook or contribute online to the group’s GoFundMe page.

More information can also be found online at daysforgirls.org.

A second group operates locally out of Heffley Creek.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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