From left-to-right, top row: Jennifer Deschamps, Jessica Demerchant and Christine Marceau. Bottom row: Karla Ojeda, Darlene Ferguson, Virginia Lake, Sharon Miller and Kelsey Galt. (Shawna O'Neill/TC Media).
LONG SAULT, Ontario – When Sharon Miller of the Rotary Club of Cornwall Sunrise visited Agra, India last year, she witnessed firsthand how teenage girls do not have easy access to feminine hygiene products.
Without these products, girls often miss school and are sometimes forced to drop out.
Miller, who was in Agra dispensing the Polio vaccine as part of the End Polio Now initiative, discovered an organization that sells sustainable menstruation kits after her trip, however she believed the price of these kits was steep.
As an avid sewer and a strong believer that women should have full access to education, she took it upon herself to spearhead her own project, Go with the Flow. The group creates sustainable menstruation kits with several donation-based products.
On Sunday, Sept. 23, Miller and nine friends held a packing party to celebrate and organize the 100 sustainable feminine hygiene kits that they created since June over the course of 15 sewing parties.
One group member will be visiting Ghana, Africa soon and will distribute 50 on her trip. Miller will be visiting Agra, India at the end of this year and will take the remaining kits with her.
“I was never told no at any business that I approached,” said Miller gratefully in regards to donations.
Starting off with $500 from the Rotary Club, Miller fundraised for the kits and materials starting in June.
Each kit is designed to make girls feel beautiful and keep contents discrete. Inside a handmade drawstring bag that can be used as a backpack, there are eight 100 per cent flannel washable liners, two 100 per cent cotton leak proof shields (with Pul inside), two pairs of cotton underwear, one washcloth, a bar of soap and two disposable towelettes. The items are geared to last four to five years and liners resemble washcloths, thus avoiding the chance of social stigmatization.
“You can’t save everyone but you know you can help someone,” said Miller.
The Go with the Flow project will continue but at a slower pace compared to the summer months.
For more information or to donate contact Sharon Miller at 613-363-5053 or Smiller15943@gmail.com. Alternatively, contact the Rotary Club of Cornwall Sunrise.