When 1,100 care packages were distributed to women in need throughout the Lower Mainland last week, they contained Valentine’s wishes, but no flowers. The omission was deliberate, said advocate Manpreet Multani, 24, of the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
The packages, filled with items like soap, toothpaste and shampoo, were part of the One Billion Rising campaign, an initiative to raise awareness to end violence against women and children. Multani said when the organization reached out to the shelters and low income housing representatives to ask what the women needed, they were told not to include flowers.
“We learned that many times the women had been given flowers by their abusers, and so they had negative associations,” said Multani.
Multani said that over the past nine years the World Sikh Organization of Canada has participated in the campaign to create care packages and distribute them to women and children in shelters and low-income housing. In 2018 they expanded the initiative to include participation from other faith organizations as part of Interfaith Harmony Week, which kicked off during the first week of February.