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Water & Sanitation

These Canadian Women Sew Menstrual Pads for Girls in Developing Countries

In developing countries, many women and girls do not have access to sanitary products while on their period — but a group of Canadian women in Kamloops, BC, is trying to change that.

The women are part of Days for Girls, an organization dedicated to increasing access to menstrual care and education around the world, according to CBC.

Lack of access to sanitation facilities increases the number of preventable deaths globally.

Take Action: Take the #WASH4Women Pledge So All Girls and Women Can Thrive

About 842,000 people die every year due to inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This lack of access to toilets also puts women and girls at risk in a whole new way, as finding hidden places to defecate increases their chance of rape and attack. It makes managing menstruation difficult, too, and it perpetuates a cycle of poverty.

And that’s without accounting for the fact that so many girls and women go without actual menstrual products.

Read More: This Company Is Leading the Reusable Cloth Pad Revolution in India

Without adequate access to items like sanitary pads, girls are often forced to miss school or rely on using things like rags during their period. In some places, like Nepal, girls are forced to stay in isolated menstruation huts while they are on their periods.

Terry-Lynn Stone is the president of Days for Girls Canada and the leader of the pack in Kamloops.

"The fact that I have five daughters who have never wanted for sanitary supplies made me livid," Stone told CBC, comparing her daughters' experiences to other girls' around the world. "I was so angry ... We have to make a difference ... It's just unforgivable that girls should be in that position."

Read More: Yet Another Young Woman Died in a Menstrual Hut

Her team makes kits that include eight sewn absorbent liners, two waterproof shields, soap, a washcloth, two Ziploc bags, and two pairs of underwear, all kept within a drawstring bag, according to CBC.

The kits are donated to developing countries around the world, like Sri Lanka, where Stone visited last year.

She took 200 kits and explained to the girls receiving them how everything worked.

Read More: One-Third of Girls in South Asia Miss School During Their Periods, Study Says

One mother in Sri Lanka, Stone told CBC, said that she normally had to choose between food and menstrual pads for her girls each month.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set out to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of children. Global Citizen campaigns on these goals, including issues related to water and sanitation, knowing that clean water and sanitation is key to ending extreme poverty. You can take action here.