Meet SHE's Youth Intern: Sky Swanson

Hometown: I am from New York City but I grew up in Europe; I'm currently living in London. 

What are you working on? For SHE, I am currently editing videos of an interview taken in Rwanda and sifting through photos. I am also putting together my photos and journal entries for a generational project of Rwandan girls experiences regarding menstruation. Being in high school, I am spending the rest my summer studying for the SAT's, training for tennis tournaments and learning to drive! 

What superpower would you have? I would be a super genius, as every problem would be instantly solvable. 

Who is your favorite tennis player? Federer! His grace, power and resilience are inspiring.

What was one of your most memorable experiences while in Rwanda this summer? Shaking my hips, stretching and laughing with a dozen girls, as a break from our discussion about menstruation! 

What was the last song that played on your iPod/iPhone/iPad? Heroes by David Bowie

Why did you join SHE? Women and girls across the world cannot reach their full potential because of something as simple as access to sanitary pads. When I discovered this, I was angered but motivated to do something. SHE is doing such an incredible job towards solving a problem which limits women in so many ways. I love the issue because it is personal, important and solvable; I love SHE because of the difference it will continue to make in Rwanda. 

Meet our Youth Intern Amelia!

Amelia (center) with a few of the school children she taught this summer.

Hometown:  Bronxville, NY

What are you working on this summer?
I interviewed women and girls in the Kibera slums, one of the world's largest informal settlement within Nairobi, Kenya to learn more about how they manage their periods. I can't wait to share the videos, photos, and stories I captured while there with you soon! Stay tuned.

I am also working stateside in the SHE office and are helping the SHE team with office operations and social media.

What superpower would you have?
To fly… it would make travel a lot more fun!

Which American girl doll would you be?
Kirsten, her dangerous journey from Sweden and adventurous life on the Western frontier captivated me when I was younger.  She was also the first American girl doll I got; at four she was my prize possession.

What is your favorite food?
Pasta with Pesto (but only how my mom makes it).

What was the last song played on your iPod?
“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye

Why did you join SHE?
I have always been passionate about the field of human rights.  I am especially interested in the empowerment of girls and women who traditionally in their cultures have had no voice.  I have done a lot of research on non-profit organizations and when I heard about SHE, their mission really caught my attention.  The issue of women and girls missing work and school is obviously one of huge importance and SHE’s approach is so sensible and pragmatic.

Have you met our new Junior Marketing Officer?

Introducing Gerardine Benimana....our new Junior Marketing Officer, Rwanda. 
In 2007, she won a scholarship from Generation Rwanda enabling her to pursue her studies at National University of Rwanda, where she earned a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology.

Gerardine also has held various leadership positions that she has held in youth groups and clubs, where she volunteers in orphanages and youth centers as a counselor and career advisor. She also completed entepreneurship trainings and has participated in business plan competitions. 

Gerardine is passionate about joining SHE because of its direct contribution to girls and women's and the country's economic development. The aspect of SHE that most appeals to her is how its work is in line with the Ministry of Health's objectives to maximize preventative health measures and to build the capacity to have high quality and accessible health care services for the entire population.
In her free time, Gerardine enjoys swimming and traveling.

Hillz is voting for SHE in the Classy Awards - join her!

Suffering from online voting fatigue?

We are too, but here’s your rare chance for the menstruation revolution to go primetime! SHE has made the cut and is a Top 5 finalist in the Classy Awards, aka the Oscars of the non-profit world.

If SHE wins, our SHE28 campaign will gain a national spotlight on major outlets like CNN, US Weekly, and the Huffington Post, so people will talk less about Tom and Katie, and talk more about the urgent need of access to affordable, eco-friendly menstrual pads. Imagine Jon Stewart, Oprah, or Secretary Hillz Clinton sporting a SHE LaunchPad!

Instigate with us! You can vote for SHE, once a day, every day, until Thursday, July 26th! Voting for SHE is as easy as 1-2-3:
1.    Go to and select the "East" Region
2.    Scroll down to the "Small Charity of the Year" and select Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)
3.    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Submit My Final Ballot” button.

Want Extra Credit? Propel SHE’s mission further by sharing this email with everyone on Facebook and Twitter. At the very least, they’ll get a good chuckle out of our Hillary Clinton meme :)

SHE's Keeping it Classy, 24/7 - Vote for Us in the 4th Annual Classy Awards!

SHE has been selected out of 2,400 Nominees as a Top 5 Regional Finalist in the Small Charity of the Year category for the 4th Annual CLASSY Awards! Help us move on to the next round by casting your vote before July 26.  You can vote once a day, everyday, until July 26! 

Here's how:
Go to
Click on the East Region
Scroll down to the "Small Charity of the Year"
SELECT - Sustainable Health Enterprises

Please show your SHE love by voting for us and asking 5 of your friends to vote for us too!

Welcome to Monica Gagnon, SHE's Global Public Health Intern

Advocacy is key to our work since one of our goals is to restore dignity to women and girls through policy changes and community dialogue. We launched our advocacy campaign at a national level in Rwanda with our 2010 "Breaking the Silence" campaign that included a march down the streets of Kigali to gain national attention to the taboos about menstruation.

We are now beginning to scale our advocacy efforts at a global level and are always looking for fellow instigators to join us in developing innovative ways to address the barriers to access to sanitary pads. Monica Gagnon has become a fellow SHE instigator this summer as our SHE's Global Public Health Intern. Learn more about Monica in her own words:

"Hello! I’m a Master’s in Public Health candidate in health policy and management at the City University of New York’s School of Public Health. In my day job I coordinate a residency program in family medicine in East Harlem, with the goal of increasing access to quality primary care in underserved communities. My main interest in public health is overcoming barriers to access to health, which is what drew me to SHE.

As an undergraduate at Oberlin College, I majored in religion with a focus on gender, and traveled to Mali to study gender and development. SHE combines my interests in gender and social justice by finding innovative ways to address barriers to women’s health access. I am very excited to be joining the team and delving into the global policy issues that affect SHE’s work.

When not thinking about public health, I enjoy playing field hockey, doing the Sunday NY Times crossword, watching French movies and dreaming about my future goat farm!"

Welcome to SHE's Entrepreneur-in-Residence Abenezer Fanta

We had a call out for banana fiber geeks earlier this year willing to train with our technical partners at NCSU and travel to Rwanda to lead our industrial scale production of our SHE LaunchPad, so we're excited to announce and welcome to the SHE team, Abenezer Fanta. 

Abenezer in a sea of banana fiber
Abenezer, our SHE Entrepreneur in Residence who we recruited to transfer the pilot-industrial scale manufacturing to Rwanda, has arrived in the US (see below)!  He has an entrepreneurial spirit, a banana fiber textile and mechanical engineering background, hails from Ethiopia, and apparently (as described in one reference letter), is a good swimmer!

He'll be training with one of our technical partners, Dr. Med Byrd of North Carolina State University, and then head transfer both the know-how and equipment to Rwanda this fall.