Driven by her Kenyan heritage, and inspired by her mother’s own philanthropic work, Year 11 student Aaliyah Sirengo has given birth to a special project called “In2Eradicating Period Poverty”.
The project aims to raise awareness about female struggles in Africa, and assist girls, through the provision of sustainable sanitary packs, who would typically miss chunks of their school education due to menstruation.
Aaliyah’s mother, Susan is the founder and CEO of ‘In2Ed Africa’, who have built 2 schools in African communities, providing a much-needed opportunity for education. Observing her mother’s work, was how Aaliyah noticed that a number of female students in Korogocho, Kenya, were regularly absent with their periods leaving them too embarrassed and feeling unable to go to school for a number of days each month.
“If I had not been adopted I might be one of those girls in Kenya missing school because of my period,” Aaliyah told Anna Vlach in a recent interview with the Advertiser.
Aaliyah raised funds to source a sewing machine and to employ a person to begin making sustainable sanitary wear. Using a template and with suggested improvements incorporated into the design, nearly 300 packs have been manufactured already.
More recently, Aaliyah held a fundraising breakfast, where funds raised have enabled her to source a second machine and the search is on for a second employee. With a goal of producing 2000 packs containing underwear, sustainable liners, and pads for girls in Korogocho village, Aaliyah’s ultimate ambition is to eliminate period poverty throughout Kenya.
Not only is Aaliyah doing good, but she is inspiring and empowering all in her tracks. Aaliyah had the opportunity to share her story over the weekend at an International Women’s Day brunch, where 30 guests at Cafe Outside The Square were “moved to tears”.
At Nazareth, we are proud to foster a culture of inclusion, equality, and justice and to see our students living this ethos in such a significant capacity.
“I am changing the lives of girls in Kenya,” spoke Aaliyah at the brunch. In the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, we couldn’t think of a more perfect example of what is possible when we #ChooseToChallenge.
You can support Aaliyah's In2Eradicating Period Poverty project via this fundraising page.
This International Womens Day we proudly share this message for female-focused foundation Catherine House.