When I started “Boss Lady Buzz” I knew one of the first people I needed to reach out to and interview was Malindi Ayienga. This incredible woman has accomplished so much in her 21 years of life, the most recent feat being DIVA DAY KENYA, an initiative Malindi started and was kind enough to speak with me about!
1. What was the project you raised money for this summer?
This summer I raised money for Diva Day, which is an initiative that I started this summer that brought Diva Cups to 170 girls at the Butere Girl’s High School in Butere Kenya. Not only was my aim to provide these girls with a sustainable, easy and comfortable way to take care of their bodies during their periods, but also to empower and encourage them to embrace the strong, powerful, beautiful diva that already exists in each and every one of them.
2. How did you discover your passion for this issue?
My dad was born and raised in Kenya and he often goes back for visits. On one of his recent trips he brought back some photos including one of some girls sitting at the back of a classroom on a bench. I asked my dad why they were sitting back there and he told me that those were the girls who were on their period, and because they didn’t have access to any sanitary products they sat on a bench covered with sand and bled onto it all day. My dad explained to me that those were the lucky girls, in most cases when girls don’t have access to sanitary products, they just stay home from school altogether until their period is over. These young women are missing weeks and weeks of school every year, making it almost impossible for them to compete for post secondary education positions against their male counterparts. Not to mention the shame that comes along with feeling that your body existing as it does naturally is something that ostracizes you and keeps you from getting your education.
I’ve always been passionate about female empowerment and Kenya so when my dad told me he was going to Kenya this summer, it was a golden opportunity to combine all of those passions and help make a difference in the communities that make up such a huge part of who I am.
3. If someone else sees an area that needs improvement, how can they start a similar fundraising platform?
It can be so difficult to reflect on the current state of our world and feel like you have no power to make change. There are so many aspects of our world that are broken and so many people hurting that what little you feel you can do may seem insignificant. That’s how I felt for most of the fundraising process for Diva Day, and it wasn’t until I was in the room, looking at these bright young women in the eye and engaging with them face to face that I actually felt like lives were being changed. I believe that it’s because I chose something that I truly believe in and am passionate about that the initiative was successful. So if someone is looking to start a project of their own, and this goes for charitable causes, business ventures or art, make sure it’s something you genuinely care about. There was a lot of nitty gritty technical aspects that I had to work through to get Diva Day to happen. I had to make a lot of phone calls and ask a lot of people for help which was difficult and tiring at times, but because I was so committed to what I was doing I never wanted to give up. There are three main websites that I used to get the word out and collect donations. First off I set up a “GoFundMe” page (GoFundMe is a crowdfunding website where people can donate online using a credit card) which I
found was extremely successful as it’s very easy to use and they give donors the option to leave little comments of encouragement along with their donation if they wish. It also allows people to donate anonymously. Once the page was set up I filmed, edited and uploaded a video to my Youtube channel. In the video I explained the initiative and how people who were interested could contribute. Then I shared the video on Facebook and I think that’s where most people found out about Diva Day and had access to links to make donations. The most important thing about all of this is that it came from a very genuine place. I think that the video is great because I find I communicate best when I’m talking, and so I was able to share my heart and passion by talking directly to whoever watched the video. If you’re wanting to start your own fundraising initiative, find the means of communication that is the most honest for you, and is easily accessible for the people you’re trying to reach.
4. Do you have any tips/tricks that helped you surpass your goal?
I thing the most important thing to remember when you are trying to raise money for anything is to say thank you. After every donation I sent a personalized thank you to each individual. NONE of what was achieved this summer would have been possible if it weren’t for the generosity of my community, and I did everything I could to make sure that those who did donate or share the video on Facebook knew how much they were valued. When you lead with a spirit of honesty and gratitude, good things will come your way. I was very fortunate that my church was the donation that almost doubled my campaign goal. I would highly recommend reaching out to different companies or organizations in your community. They often have money set aside for charitable causes, and if you ask nicely they might be able to help you out.
MORE ABOUT MALINDI
My favourite quote is by L. Frank Baum and it’s from the Wizard of Oz.
“Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”
This has always resonated with me because I am an extremely empathetic and emotional person. I feel my feelings BIG and I feel other peoples feelings BIG as well. Often times I get frustrated with myself because it’s exhausting caring so much about people and a world that is so full of pain, but I just keep reminding myself that these big feelings are a gift. Being able to empathize is a gift when it comes to relationships and with acting, and it makes me who I am. It makes me human.
Which artists inspire you?
I take great inspiration from a variety of artists like Audra McDonald, Laura Mvula, Ntozake Shange, Beyoncé and Mindy Kaling. All extremely talented women of colour who have achieved incredible success by NOT conforming to any sort of stereotype, but by creating and contributing honest and beautiful art. Their work gives me hope.
Thank you to the beautiful Malindi for sharing her experience with Diva Day Kenya! I have been a subscriber on her Youtube Channel for many years, and I highly recommend you checking out her funny, motivational videos that are FULL of personality!