Diva Day empowers women's education by providing its community with the platform and tools to foster agency over their bodies, voices and stories. Through arts-based fundraisers in Canada, we have created the Diva Day 2019 workshop that will provide 1,000 Kenyan school girls with a two-day menstrual health and empowerment workshop, a Diva Day Handbook (created and printed by Diva Day) and a DivaCup, ensuring no day of school will be missed due to menstruation. The reality for so many school-aged girls in Kenya is that without access to menstrual hygiene products, they stay home from school during menstruation. We are currently halfway through our workshops in Kenya, and we have seen so much growth and learning take place with these girls.
Unfortunately, we have encountered our first large bump in the road. The DivaCups and Diva Day Handbooks that we shipped in April arrived in Mombasa on July 8th, but have yet to be released to us. The individuals we paid and entrusted to ship and release the shipment to us upon arrival have not followed through on their job. Our shipping contact on the ground has squandered our money and refuses to pay the government to open the shipping container.
We have exhausted all possible solutions except for one. Our only remaining option to receive the cups and books before our time in Kenya comes to an end on August 24th is to pay the government the tax for the entire container. This comes out to $12,000 Canadian. We are fortunate in that the workshop that we have created can survive without each girl having her own book; although it is not ideal by any means, the girls are used to sharing books in their learning environments. All the songs, exercises, and and menstrual health information that we planned can and have been executed. We have demonstration cups that we have been passing around, giving each girl a chance to practice the folds herself to prepare for future use. However, in order for us to complete the mission, each girl must receive her DivaCup and her Diva Day Handbook.
Thanks to the support of our Diva Day community, we have been able to produce 8 arts-based fundraisers that support our initiative financially and uplift women's voices through new Canadian theatre and performance art. We have created a comprehensive Diva Day Handbook outlining how to use the DivaCup, physical anatomy, menstrual health and hygiene, and self-care. We have partnered with the DivaCup to make this a reality for 1,000 girls. We partnered with Microsoft to enhance our workshop with six SurfaceGo tablets. We created an interactive curriculum to teach the contents of the workbooks and thoroughly explain how to use and care for the DivaCups.
We have worked so hard and come so far. In order for us to complete this mission, we are calling on our Diva Day Community once more to help us raise this $12,000 so that the girls can receive the cups they are so excited about.
Each day that the container tax is not paid, the interest goes up, and eventually the container will be auctioned off. We are in a race against the clock. Any and all support is greatly appreciated. There is no one else doing what we do. It is deeply saddening to know that there are people in this world who would purposefully rob us of the materials we need to uplift girls in their very own country. As the original phenomenal woman Maya Angelou said, "You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise."
Diva Day is not yet a registered charity, we have a business account with TD bank that I, Malindi Ayienga founder and Director of Diva Day International, run and will be personally in charge of making sure that these funds make it to the Kenyan government to clear the tax hold on the container.