Menstrual equity worldwide—Period!

Now that title got your attention, didn’t it!  Terry-Lynn Stone describes Days for Girls succinctly: “Our goal is to reach Every Girl Everywhere, Period!” Being a bit of a joker myself I could not resist the question—is your last word a pun? The answer of course is YES!

Days for Girls Canada, with its founding organization, Days for Girls International (DfGI), strives for menstrual equity worldwide.

“We believe every girl and woman has inherent worth and dignity and we celebrate this by providing sustainable menstrual health solutions along with health education.”

These solutions allow girls to stay in school and avoid early marriage. When girls and women have health, education, and opportunity, our communities and our world are stronger.

Our goal is to reach Every Girl Everywhere, Period! This means ensuring every menstruator (because not every person who menstruates identifies as a girl/woman) in the world has access to safe, sustainable menstrual products.

We do this in two ways: we make the beautiful, sustainable, patented Days for Girls Kits for distribution around the world; we also participate with DfGI to help support local residents set up enterprises where they become completely self-sufficient making, selling, and distributing Days for Girls Kits to their communities and beyond. We also work closely with other agencies focusing on menstrual equity.

One partnership we are particularly proud of, is our partnership with Moon Time Sisters, a volunteer-led organization which supports menstruators by sending menstrual supplies to those living in remote communities in northern Canada where products are often inaccessible and/or very expensive.  

I put some questions to Terry-Lynne who responds:

When and how did you first discover DfG?

I attended a Rotary Conference in Yakama and couldn’t remember which small session I had signed up for. I was standing outside a room which said the next session would be Days for Girls which I thought would be about girls’ self-esteem and because I have four daughters I thought it might be worth attending—it changed my life.

Why this initiative over and above other projects?

I was so ashamed really that I had never considered that girls had difficulty accessing menstrual products—it seems such a necessity. The more I learned, the angrier I became and in some ways I was particularly angry about the patriarchy that often plays a role in the diminishment of women. I knew I had to make a difference.

Have you any statistics for the local group or the Canadian organization?

Last the last two years during the pandemic, our Kamloops team distributed over 2,850 kits to five different countries. Canadian teams collectively distributed 19,537 kits to 15 different countries in 2021.

Have you personally received any awards in relation to this or other work?

I did win the Mayor’s exemplary service award in Kamloops 2018. And about 100 years ago I won a Governor General’s award for Community service and academic excellence while living in Langley.

So how do I know about Days for Girls. My life partner Kathie is an active volunteer sewer, advocate and fundraiser—as a result many folks at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kamloops support this amazing work. Kathie learned of the initiative  on the cusp of her retirement from health care. With time on her hands and considerable ability herself she commenced finishing pads, bags and other components of the kits. She works diligently with much satisfaction (and only slightly bleary-eyed) on kits when she has time and energy.

Here in Kamloops there are several shifts of volunteer sewers who as noted above produce a large number of kits for the comfort, encouragement and support of menstruaters (never knew that was a noun – not my life department) nationally and globally. Speaking nationally, the Kamloops group will host the Days for Girls National Conference in here Kamloops, September 9-11th 2022.

Support for Days is welcome in a number of ways. Financial gifts are tax-deductible. Persons seeking more information should reach out to Terri at presidentca@daysforgirls.org  

For me, it is so gratifying to drive through the streets of Kamloops, knowing that good people are doing good things for the common good, often invisibly. Programmes such as Days (there are many others—suggestions welcome for future blogs) function not out of pity for the situations in which some people find themselves. Days work is empowering, socially energizing, physically sustainable and communal in the very best sense of the word. Such work requires intelligent, organized and dedicated leadership so well expressed in Terry-Lynn’s long history of sharing. Such work likewise requires willing collaborators at all levels. It all comes together in a wonderful package (kit) right here in Kamloops.

Congratulations to the Days for Girls teams, here and everywhere.

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