Helping marginalized and exploited women receive sanitary supplies, toiletries and cosmetics, has landed one UBC Okanagan student national recognition.
Dela Hini, a Calgary-raised, Ghana-born third-year sociology student at UBCO, has received a Top 20 Under 25 award from non-profit think tank Think for Actions in the Strong Woman category.
“While living in Kelowna during my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to witness Kelowna’s growing and highly visible homeless population,” said Hini.
“My sociology background and experience as a work-study student for UBCO’s Equity and Inclusion Office inspired and enabled me to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to do something positive and tangible to support the disenfranchised around me.”
In her time at UBCO, Hini co-founded UBCO’s Arts and Science Students Association, which helped establish and support the Pink Backpack Project. The project saw the “necessities of life” provided to Kelowna woman in need. In its first year, the initiative assembled 12 care packages, mini cosmetics kits and boxes filled with surplus items. These were then distributed by the local volunteer group, HOPE Outreach.
“Inspired by the 10th UN Sustainable Development Goal, the Pink Backpack Project aims to mobilize students to address areas of inequity in the Kelowna area,” said Hini.
“I’m delighted with the accomplishments of the backpack project’s first year. We successfully provided an opportunity for students to apply their talents and skills to help support the Kelowna community.”
The project’s success motivated Hini to apply for a Think for Actions award.
Calgary-based Think for Actions aims to support the professional development of youth and has a long-term goal of establishing a community affairs research institute. The organization is focused on effectively engaging communities through research, collaborations and partnerships poised to solve large societal challenges.
There are seven categories in the Top 20 Under 25 awards, including the Strong Woman division, which recognizes two individuals who are helping to raise awareness on issues that are prominent in their community. They are all meant to inspire the younger generation and to instil a sense of selfless service to society.
“I just want to make a difference in an innovative way,” said Hini.