OTTAWA, Canada—For the fourth year in a row, Sikhs across Canada, in partnership with the World Sikh Organization of Canada, joined to take part in the One Billion Rising movement by providing care packages, treats and baked goods to approximately 1500 women and children in shelters in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Valentine’s cards prepared by Sikh children accompanied the packages.
One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.
This initiative was launched by the WSO in 2013 in Vancouver and has subsequently spread across Canada.
This year, for the first time, Sikhs in Winnipeg also took part in the One Billion Rising initiative.
Volunteers gathered in each city to prepare packages which included a variety of items, including, gift cards, personal care products and plush toys for children.
This year, WSO was joined by Punjabi Community Health Services (Calgary), Ottawa Sikh Academy, Gurdwara Sahib Brahm Bunga (Montreal), Concordia Sikh Students Association, McGill Sikh Students Association, Seva Food Truck (Edmonton) and other local partners.
Generous support for dental care items in the care packages was received from Airport Dental Centre (Brampton).
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “The WSO’s One Billion Rising initiative has spread faster and farther than we could have imagined and is growing every year. Violence against women is an issue that needs to be discussed in our communities and this event provides an opportunity to raise the issue but also lets us do something nice for those that have been directly affected. We are proud that this year WSO is offering the Sikh Family Helpline as a resource to women and families facing violence or other issues. We are very grateful to our community partners and organizations across Canada without whom this event would not be the success it is today.”