British Columbia

Kamloops, B.C. team sews menstrual pads for developing countries

A Kamloops, B.C. woman has been sewing pads for girls in developing countries because she was horrified to hear that they often had to miss school when they were on their periods.

'We have to make a difference. It's just unforgivable that girls should be in that position'

Terry-Lynn Stone is the team lead of Kamloops Days for Girls. She and her team work to create washable sanitary napkins for girls in developing countries. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

A group of women in Kamloops B.C., are sewing washable sanitary napkins to send to girls in developing countries.

The group is part of the international organization Days for Girls.

Started in 2008, Days for Girls works to increase access to menstrual care and education in parts of the world where girls don't have access to proper feminine hygiene.

Terry-Lynn Stone, 67, heads up the organization's Kamloops team and is the president of Days for Girls Canada.

Girls shunned

She says learning about the hygienic needs of girls in developing countries completely changed her life.

"The fact that I have five daughters who have never wanted for sanitary supplies made me livid," said Stone.

"I was so angry ... We have to make a difference ... It's just unforgivable that girls should be in that position."

In many parts of the world, menstruating girls are shunned. They are often made to stay in "menstrual huts" for the duration of their period — meaning they miss school days.

Sometimes, inappropriate materials such as stones or dung are used in place of pads.

The Kamloops team — along with hundreds of others around the world — creates hygiene kits for distribution in developing countries. 

A typical kit contains eight sewn absorbent liners, two waterproof shields, one bar of soap, one washcloth, two Ziploc plastic bags, two pairs of panties and a decorated drawstring bag to hold all the components.

A typical Days for Girls kit contains a range of sewn, reusable and washable hygienic products. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

The kits are available by donation to communities around the world. 

Stone took 200 kits to Sri Lanka last year on an outreach mission. She said it is important not to just give out a kit, but to also explain to the girl how it all works.

Stone said a Sri Lankan mother thanked her after the distribution, and told her that every month she has to choose between buying her girls food or menstrual pads.

"What can you say? There are options and they're not available to these girls," said Stone.

With files from Daybreak Kamloops