Aanya smiles for a photo with the 5,000 personal hygiene products she donated to the girls in the Y’s Teen Achievers program.
Education and Impact
What started as a simple project to obtain volunteer hours for her impending high school graduation, led Aanya Patel to create a nonprofit organization. Global Girls Initiative, which she started at age 16, focuses on alleviating period poverty in the Tampa community and beyond.
Many teens struggle with poverty, as much as one in five girls in the U.S. Many even miss school due to a lack of access to feminine hygiene products.
In the 2022 - 2023 school year, Aanya will lead the Hillsborough County School District in installing menstrual pad dispensers in 14 bathrooms of local high schools. Global Girls Initiative’s mission is "To provide free menstrual hygiene products and education to students and youth in underserved communities to help improve their health, confidence and self-esteem.”
Efforts like the Hillsborough County schools projects will provide young girls with essential resources required to remain focused during school.
One Girl at a Time
“It started off really small, I wanted to donate period products to my school and the domestic violence shelter, The Spring of Tampa Bay,” shares Aanya.
Aanya set a goal of collecting 5,000 feminine hygiene products to donate to community women’s shelters, high schools and girls who participate in hygiene workshops. She was concerned she would not meet her goal, but the Tampa Bay community rallied around her and collected a total of 50,000 feminine hygiene products!
Leaning into her mission, Aanya works with local high schools, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups to raise awareness about period poverty through a variety of hygiene workshops. Earlier this summer, Aanya led 15 of the Tampa Y’s Teen Achievers in a hygiene workshop.
“I do menstrual hygiene workshops because menstrual hygiene is such a stigmatized topic and most young girls don’t know about it,” shares Aanya.
During the workshop, the Teen Achievers developed a positive sense of self, learned about sustainable hygiene products and received a year’s worth of feminine hygiene products thanks to Aanya and the Global Girls Initiative!
Uplifting Youth in the Tampa Bay Community
The Tampa Y’s Teen Achievers program helps and inspires teens to set personal and academic goals. The program director creates a supportive environment for teens to build self-confidence while they learn, grow and thrive.
The Y is proud to partner with community activists like Aanya and Global Girls Initiative, and her unique perspective on connecting with the young girls in the Teen Achievers program on a personal, peer-to-peer level.
The educational and donation efforts will certainly provide young girls with essential resources required to remain focused and engaged in school.
Support Aanya and the Global Girls Initiative and stay updated on events and donation drives!