150+ Canadians Day 87: Laurie Davey-Quantick

Laurie Davey-Quantick contributes to peace through her activism and humanitarian work on behalf of children in Uganda. #Canada150

While on a trip to Uganda distributing bed kits on behalf of Sleeping Children Around the World Laurie Davey-Quantick was inspired to work to help to alleviate poverty in the country. In 2003, Davey-Quantick helped found Omwaana Ono International (Omwaana Ono are the Lusoga words for This Child ) with The Inner Wheel Club, an International Voluntary Charitable Organization made up of the wives of Rotarians. Omwaana Ono International focuses on the opportunities for and breaking down the barriers to education.

The group, made up of more than a dozen regular volunteers, has become a life- changing organization that advances the education of children living in poverty in developing countries, notably in Uganda.

In August of 2008 Laurie was asked to visit a secondary school in the village of Kyabazaala while in Uganda. The students have to walk up to an hour to collect water for use at the school. The group’s first project was to construct a well, on an eight-acre parcel of land local Catholic diocese allowed them to build on. The well was completed in June 2009. It now serves 300 households, or nearly 2,000 people.

On the same parcel of land, the group built a classroom, and developed a sewing program so that young girls and women had a place and the means to develop sewing skills.  One of the lessons teaches girls and women how to sew and sell washable sanitary napkins.

“When they start to menstruate, going to school becomes an onerous task. They have no sanitary towels, and no napkins. They are using old rags, if they even have those. So to go to school when you’re having your period is problematic, it’s embarrassing.” To prevent potential embarrassment, the girls just stop going to school. New skills and resources are enabling girls to remain in school, and make a living for themselves.

Laurie has also been active in the peace movement, serving as one of the founding members of the Kingston branch of Operation Dismantle in the 1980s.

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