PHILANTHROPIST

Eight-year-old model helps less fortunate in Kisumu

Princess Aileen distributes free sanitary towels to underprivileged girls, food stuffs and clothes

In Summary

•She launched her charity organization, Destiny Helpers, two years ago to reach out to the less fortunate.

•Princess Aileen has embarked on a project to reconstruct a house for a destitute family at Kogony village in Kisumu West after their house was swept by floods in December last year.

“Do your little bit of good where you are, it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,” former South African Anglican Church Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, once said.

These words resonate well with eight-year-old philanthropist, Princess Aileen Akinyi, who has led in putting a smile on the faces of the less fortunate in Kisumu.

Born in the sprawling Nyalenda slums of Kisumu, Princess Aileen was touched by the poor state of affairs in the informal settlement and started modelling at three years.

“I discovered that I could model during my mother’s wedding and through her support I have participated in many beauty pageants winning several awards,” she says.

With her mother’s support, Stella Tande, Princess Aileen hit the red carpet running, earning herself accolades, titles and recognition.

Her titles include Little Miss Humanity, Little Miss Kit Mikay, Mini Miss World Kenya, Tiny Princess Kenya, Little Miss Mazingira Africa, Tiny Miss Kisumu and African Child of the Year.

Over the years, Princess Aileen a pupil at Wema Academy in Seme subcounty has used the titles and proceeds from her talent to give back to the community and assist the less fortunate.

Princess Aileen launched her charity organization, Destiny Helpers, two years ago to reach out to the less fortunate.

Through the organization where she is the chief executive officer, Princess Aileen distributes free sanitary towels to underprivileged girls in Kisumu.

She visits households on Sundays during which she mobilizes and distributes foodstuff and clothes to support less fortunate children and the elderly.

“It hurts me to see young girls struggling to stay in school due to lack of sanitary towels. This is why I came up with this initiative to support them,” she said.

So far, she has spearheaded four back to school drives where school-going children especially adolescents are given sanitary pads and inner wears to comfortably keep them in schools.

During the exercise mentorship forums are organized where the girls are guided and counselled, following an upsurge in the number of teenage pregnancies.

Most of the girls, she says are hoodwinked into early sex by randy men in exchange for money to buy sanitary towels, thus forcing them to drop out of school.

Through the Sunday households visits, the organization has so far reached out to 12 households that have benefited from foodstuffs and other basic needs.

Out of the 12 families, four have been earmarked to receive support from the organization to set up small businesses to support them during the post-Covid period.

Princess Aileen has embarked on a project to reconstruct a house for a destitute family at Kogony village in Kisumu West after their house was swept by floods in December last year.

“During our recent Sunday household visits, I came across this family and decided I was going to do everything possible to reconstruct them a house,” she said.

Her humanitarian acts and philanthropy at a tender age have earned her accolades and international recognition.

Last year, she was crowned African Child of the Year following her efforts to assist the less fortunate as families and households struggled with the negative economic effects of Covid-19.

She has also been picked as one of the keynote speakers at the International Kids Conference to be held on November 20, to mark this year’s International Children Day.

Princess Aileen founded the Miss Kit Mikayi beauty pageant.

It is an annual event that brings children and teenagers together to showcase their talents. She says parents must support their children’s dreams to enable them to become productive members of society.

“I ask parents out there to support their children’s talents. It doesn't matter if the children are in slums or villages. Even though I was born in the slums and we stay in the village, my parents still support me,” she said.

Modelling, she says, remains a big challenge to most talented girls back in rural Kisumu because they cannot afford to buy shoes and clothes and pay registration fees and transport to participate in beauty pageants.

She appealed to her fellow children not to give up but take advantage of the various talents and opportunities to make the world a better place.

Princess Aileen looks forward to partnering with fashion designers to promote their products through her social media platforms to raise funds for her charity work.

She appeals to well-wishers to support her initiative to reach more households and children as the economy slowly bounces back.

Her efforts have started bearing fruits as more children have started participating in environmental management, charity, arts and entertainment to maximize their talents and positively impact society.

Through Kisumu Multi Talents Academy where she is a member, children from across the county are mentored and taught how to develop their talents.

Moses Otieno, the chief executive says through the organization, the children helped to identify what they want to achieve through the philanthropic movement.

“Most of these activities are led by the children and they encounter so many challenges but as a mentor, I advise and help shape the direction their programmes take,” he said.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris