Women helping women (and girls) on the other side of the world

A group of Chilliwack women are making it easier for girls and women in impoverished countries to go to school and work.

From left

From left

A group of Chilliwack women are making it easier for girls and women in impoverished countries to go to school and work, and are helping to educate them about feminine hygiene.

Days for Girls is an international program where reusable and washable sanitary pads are handmade by people in first-world communities around the world.

The feminine hygiene kits are then distributed to those in need. The girls and women are taught how to use and wash the pads, and are given a one-week information session about menstrual health and hygiene.

As of July, the Canadian chapter is a recognized registered charity and the local Rosedale team is made up of about 15 women from Heritage Reformed Church.

Hannah Brunia is one of them. She never gave it a second thought when buying hygiene products for her daughters here in Canada.

“I have five daughters and I have never considered those girls in the third-world countries and their needs,” says Brunia. “When I heard about this, I thought I could do this. I just didn’t think of the need before.”

The women gather once a month to sew the different pieces of the kits, and to package everything up.

Each kit has two shields. The shields are made from two layers of 100 per cent cotton with a waterproof layer in between, and are snapped around the underwear to hold them in place.

There are 10 flannel liners in each kit which tuck into the shield to absorb fluids.

The kits also contain a pair of underwear, a bar of soap, two Ziploc bags – one for washing, and one for rinsing – and a hand-knit washcloth.

Everything is placed into a cloth bag with a drawstring.

“Everyone has a talent, and we use them all,” says Janie Krul. “Not everyone sews. Anyone can help out, whether it’s here, or financially, or at home.”

Krul’s mother in law, who’s almost 90 years old, has knit more than 200 wash cloths.

Students from Timothy Christian helped make shields and liners during last school year.

And some granddaughters as young as 10 and 12 from the church have crocheted cords for the bag closures.

Others have helped out by donating supplies (such as fabric, soap, and resealable plastic bags) and funds to help pay for shipping and purchasing items in need.

The group also holds fundraisers like garage sales, car washes, bake sales, and homemade frozen cookie dough sales.

It is common for girls and women in impoverished countries to be turned away from school and work when they are menstruating, and so they stay at home. Some will dig a hole in the ground and crouch over it until the bleeding stops. Others do unsafe things such as use rocks to stop the bleeding.

They end up going days without school, days without income, and days without leaving the house.

The Days for Girls Rosedale team gets a great sense of accomplishment in helping those girls and women out.

“To know that these girls spend most of their time indoors because they don’t have these, and now they can go to school and work and get jobs” is a wonderful feeling, says Jenny Jansen.

The Rosedale team has been making feminine hygiene kits since last fall. They’ve already made and shipped nearly 300 kits to Haiti, South Africa, Indonesia and Philippines. Next month, they have their biggest shipment to date of 300 kits for women and girls in Kenya.

Donations of money and materials are always welcome. Those wishing to donate fabrics can help by giving pieces of 100 per cent cotton and flannel measuring at least 10 inches by 10 inches. Anything smaller cannot be used for the feminine hygiene kits, but will be given to another woman in the church who makes quilts for people in Croatia.

Anyone wishing to help out by making a donation can call Hannah Brunia at 604-819-2940 or Janie Krul at 604.794.7905.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read