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Canada Hero Award Winner

Yanique Brandford

Founder of HAGO and Canada’s Hero Award Recipient 


Speaker Bio

Yanique Brandford is the founder of Help A Girl Out (HAGO), She holds a BSc in Medical Physics and is completing her masters in Biomedical Physics at Ryerson/TMU University. Her area of research aims to improve medical imaging in proton therapy cancer therapy. She is a 3x entrepreneur, multi-medium artist, STEM educator and nuclear physics tutor to third-year students at TMU.Her struggle with period poverty began growing up in Jamaica and continued as a low-income student in Canada.


She is inspired by her mother, who handcrafted pads for her to wear to school so that she could have equal education and escape the poverty that she was exposed to in her home. & uses her experiences and that of her siblings and peers as a driving force behind her passion for Help A Girl Out (HAGO) (Pronounced 'HAY-GO') and eliminating period poverty. Since 2020, HAGO has distributed hundreds of thousands of hygiene and menstrual product kits for the homeless, refugee, BIPOC and low-income communities in the Toronto GTA and beyond as the COVID-19 crisis had severely impacted Canadians, forcing many families below the poverty line and worsening the circumstances of those who were already there.


She was awarded Global Citizen's Canada's Hero Award for her advocacy work through Help A Girl Out, the Viola Desmond award by TMU, the Brampton Board of Trade Community Impact Award & most recently the Toronto Youth Cabinet Youth Advocacy award. In March of 2021, HAGO was selected as a recipient of the GTAA's Propeller project nest fund, through which she launched the reusable project sewing reusable pads that significantly impact the period poverty movement in Canada, supporting refugees and youth across the country, facilitating sewing classes and educating about sustainability. This is their most recent and impactful project to-date and has promising potential to completely eliminate period poverty in Canada & beyond.

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