This Inspirational Teen is Giving Tampons to Homeless Women Around the World
Nadya Okamoto founded Camions of Care when she was just 16.
Nadya Okamoto's life changed overnight after her mother lost her job and her family became homeless when she was just 15 years old. She spent the next year couch-surfing and living out of suitcases and eventually ended up in a women's shelter.
"I was in an abusive relationship with a guy, who was a little bit older than me, and I hadn't told my mom," Okamoto told The Huffington Post. "It was right after we had gotten our apartment back, which I knew my mom worked so hard to make happen for us. But it was that experience of being at the women's shelter alone, and hearing the stories of women who were in much worse situations than I was ― I had a complete privilege check."
Despite the challenges in her own personal life, Okamoto continued to commute four hours a day to attend a private school, where she had a scholarship. There she started Camions of Care, a youth-led nonprofit that donates menstrual products to women in need and celebrates menstrual hygiene worldwide. She was inspired by the idea after speaking to homeless women she commuted with on the bus.
Now 18, Okamoto attends Harvard University and continues to run her organization, helping women both in the United States and around the world. She recently gave a TEDx Youth talk and has also been crowned a L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honoree for the beauty company's 2016 Women of Worth celebration.
"We're just so excited that a huge corporation like L'Oréal was taking notice of what really started with us meeting around the lunch table and planning in high school," Okamoto said. "Now we can say we run a global operation with 40 nonprofit partners, in 23 states, 13 countries, and on 60 campus chapters at universities and high schools across the U.S."
Seriously, this girl is all around #goals.
Join the effort to empower and support homeless women by donating a few dollars on the Camions of Care website. You can also give away new and unused feminine hygiene products by getting in touch with the organization.