UBC Okanagan student awarded for starting project to help marginalized women

Pink backpack

Sharing the bare necessities of life with marginalized women has brought recognition to a UBC Okanagan student.  

Dela Hini, a Calgary-raised, Ghana-born third-year sociology student at UBC Okanagan, has been named a ‘strong woman’ according to the non-profit think tank Think for Actions.

The organization recognized Hini as one of its Top 20 Under 25 award recipients in the Strong Woman category earlier this month.

Hini received this award for founding and supporting the Pink Backpack Project, a campaign to provide sanitary supplies, toiletries and cosmetics for exploited and marginalized women in Kelowna.

“While living in Kelowna during my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to witness Kelowna's growing and highly visible homeless population,” says 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.”

Always one to get involved on campus, Hini co-founded UBCO’s Arts and Science Students Association, which helped establish and support the Pink Backpack Project.

“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,” says Hini.

In their first year, the project assembled 12 ‘essential pack’ care packages, mini cosmetics kits and boxes filled with surplus items. These were then distributed by the local volunteer group, HOPE Outreach.

"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,” she adds.

This success motivated Hini to apply for the 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.

The Top 20 Under 25 award has multiple categories to recognize the efforts made by people under 25 years and the organizations supporting them. There are seven categories, including the Strong Woman division, which recognizes two individuals who are helping to raise awareness on issues that are prominent in their community.

The award is 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,” adds Hini.


(Story from UBC Okanagan)