“My name is Yanique and I am the Founder and Project Manager of the Help A Girl Out (HAGO) non-profit organization and a Biomedical Physics MSc Candidate at Ryerson University. In 2020, HAGO was awarded the Global Citizen Canada's Hero Award for our work to eradicate period poverty in Canada and various developing countries. Over the course of six years, our grassroots organization has hosted educational workshops, run anti stigma campaigns and delivered hygiene essentials to thousands of individuals in Ontario.
“Toronto Pearson’s Propeller Project—the airport’s community investment program—enabled us to launch our pilot project sewing reusable menstrual pads for individuals across Canada. This initiative is a significant step towards achieving long-term menstrual equity and a sustainable solution to menstrual waste, which is responsible for tonnes of non-degradable plastic in landfills.
“Without the support of Toronto Pearson and the enthusiastic volunteers at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, we would not have had the resources to execute the incredible feat of sewing 5,000 pads for 1,000 recipients in eight months with over 100 sewists across the country.
“The most challenging thing for me is managing a non-profit and balancing a very difficult MSc program at the same time. HAGO is composed of many volunteers of all ages executing a variety of tasks; however, we don't have any full-time staff yet.
“We are currently running a series of campaigns to help us continue our most successful projects from last year as well as implement new ones based on what we've learnt. We have opportunities for anyone to get involved and we're always looking for volunteers and the opportunity to extend our network.
“In spite of the pandemic, I am extremely proud of my family, friends, our volunteers, recipients, the essential workers and everyone who has been resiliently holding on during the last two years. We managed to run our most successful projects in this time and have adapted to the ever-changing circumstances and increasing demand in the challenge to achieve menstrual equity.”
- Yanique, Founder and Project Manager, Help A Girl Out