One teen has risen to the occasion after realizing her friends were in need.
Due to COVID-19, classes at Queen Elizabeth High School ended prematurely for 17-year-old Deep Braich, like many other students. She knew she and her classmates needed to “stick together and help each other out, and support each other.”
“I was talking to quite a few of my female friends, and they mentioned how difficult it is for them to get hygiene products from outside,” Braich said.
Stores are risky to go into, and leaving the house isn’t as easy as it used to be – what with parents being home most of the time and current health risks.
Some stores are even sold out of the needed products.
Braich knew there were extra products at her house, and decided to start building kits full of what her friends needed.
Her mom, Reyme Sakhon, found her searching through the linen closet, looking for shampoo and body wash.
Sakhon was apprehensive at first, but quickly realized the good her daughter was doing.
With money saved up from various chores and about three years of work, Braich and Sakhon set out to Safeway and dollar stores.
Mom, family, and community come together to help
“I noticed she’s not going cheap either,” Sakhon said.
“She says ‘no mom, it has to be at least a one month’s supply.'”
Braich puts thought into each package, making sure the girls get what they need.
Razors, shampoo, body wash, deodorant and feminine sanitary pads were put into brown paper bags. She put her friend’s names on them, and left them on her doorstep.
“I [bought] products that I thought were really nice,” said Braich.
“So that it would bring a smile to the person’s face who would get them. Kind of pamper them in a sense.”
Braich has since received cloth bags made by community members to assemble the kits in.
They’re a much nicer and reusable choice than the brown paper bags she initially gave out.
“I would write the girl’s names, my friend’s names, [on the paper bags] and just draw little flowers around them to make them look prettier,” she said.
“The cloth bags are a huge help.”
Braich’s cousin wanted to get involved too, but prefers to stay “behind the scenes.” Now, help has extended far past her family.
Other youth want to help Braich
Other girls from around the city began to email her, offering to help.
Braich and her team chose the name Youth Helping Youth YYC, and they’re getting more and more requests for these feminine hygiene kits.
They have gone out to plenty of young girls in Calgary, and the group recently received a request for 100 kits from the Eden Valley Reserve.
To support the growth of the project, Braich now relies on donations – and they haven’t been hard to come by.
She’s received financial support from the Calgary Women’s Cultural Association, and supplies from members of her community and her high school. More donations are always welcome
“[The school] played a huge role in my success,” said Braich.
“It made me even happier knowing that my school is supporting me and my community is [as well] because they’ve kind of made me who I am.”
She was set to graduate from Queen Elizabeth High School this year, and was planning to try out for class valedictorian.
Braich’s mother says she doesn’t know how her daughter got so generous. Sakhon raised her as a single mother, and the two haven’t always had it easy.
“I wish I was able to help her with more” she said,
“I think she’s been pretty blessed [by] her angels, and people around the community.”
More attention, more orders
After interviewing with Prime Asia and RED FM 106.7, Braich and her work started receiving international support. E-transfers came in from India, the United States, and even New Zealand.
Social media has also allowed the project to explode. Friends and strangers have shared what Braich is doing all over Facebook, which has led to more than 120 orders.
The request from Eden Valley Reserve has doubled their numbers.
But all the attention Braich is getting isn’t her doing. Her mother said she’s been “discreet” about it, not even asking her friends to share what she’s doing.
“She’s just doing it,” Sakhon said
“It’s her work, I had nothing to do with it.”
She likens Braich’s behaviour to Robin Hood, just without the stealing.
Braich saw people in need, and found a way to help.
“I started off with a small goal, but then it started getting attention,” she said
“That was like, my dream came true. It’s still hard to believe that this is actually happening.”
If you or a young girl in your life could benefit from one of Braich’s kits, fill out the request form here.