Of The Moment: Flaviana Matata
Meet: Flaviana Matata – entrepreneur, philanthropist, and cover star of our September Style Guide. Born and raised in Tanzania, Flaviana moved to New York after competing in the Miss Universe pageant. Alongside her modeling career, she founded the Flaviana Matata Foundation (FMF) to raise awareness for and reduce the barriers to adolescent girls and young women to receive daily access to education, particularly as it regards to menstrual health hygeine and sexual reproductive health.
Flaviana also co-founded LAVY products, which works in tandem with the Flaviana Matata Foundation as its core purpose is to ensure that young women and girls feel seen. This is largely done through their nail care line which helps teach them how to be nail technicians and later go on to enter the industry and become economically independent.
Below, Flaviana talks all things from her favorite Flaviana Matata Foundation success story to what she’s wearing this Fall, below.
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New York, New York and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Fashion Model, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Flaviana began the Flaviana Matata Foundation in the hope of reducing the barriers and challenges that adolescent girls and women in Tanzania face in the pursuit of receiving an education.
Tell Us More About The Flaviana Matata Foundation:
The Flaviana Matata Foundation (FMF) is an initiative that I started in 2011 that seeks to reduce the barriers and challenges adolescent girls and young women in Tanzania face on a day-to-day basis in their pursuit of their human right of receiving an education. At its core, FMF seeks to empower, inspire and support these girls to achieve their full potential by removing societal stigmas and traditions that serve as blockers to them realizing their future and promise.
A key component of FMF is raising awareness and trainings on Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) – not just for girls but for boys and the broader community. Our communal based approach ensures that the interventions we make are sustainable and is focused on the fact that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that access to education, a human right, is for everyone.
Through our programs and interventions, FMF has impacted 55,794 adolescent girls and women. This includes 44,516 through our MHHM and SRHR programs. We have also seen 1,660 girls benefit through our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions.
In addition to these interventions, we have also had a direct educational impact: 25 girls have received full scholarships; 9,541 have received school supplies through our back-to-school project; and 52 girls have been trained as nail technicians under LAVY brand through our economic empowerment program. We have also executed on the construction of 3 classrooms, 8 teachers’ houses, 1 teachers’ office and the renovation of 7 classrooms and 1 teachers’ office.
Seven scholars graduated from university last year after receiving scholarships through the Flaviana Matata Foundation.
Your Favorite FMF Success Story:
One of great success stories, and it still gives me joy as I write this, was seeing seven of our scholars graduating from university last year (in 2021). They are now young adults, economically independent and supporting their families.
Tell us more about LAVY:
LAVY is my brand that I have managed to build from the ground up that supports and complements the goals of FMF. This is a beauty and personal care brand that is focused on empowering girls and women of all ages with the hope of ensuring that everyone feels seen. This is done largely through our nail care line where we are teaching girls to do nails, build up their capacity to be nail technicians and start their own businesses. Perhaps surprising to many, the nail industry in Tanzania is actually dominated by male technicians – so we are trying to encourage and equip young women so that they can enter the industry and become economically independent.
LAVY products focuses on providing quality, safe and affordable products to girls and women in Tanzania and ensuring that everyone feels seen.
In terms of the LAVY’s geographical focus, we are currently only in Tanzania with the hope of expanding more broadly in the East African region. My dream is to have LAVY available in the United States.
Our focus has been on quality, safe and affordable products – something that has long been missing in the Tanzanian market. We have also focused on being a women led organization with a number of women serving in senior management roles as a means to demonstrate that we can build a business from the ground up.
When I Need Inspiration I:
Do your best and let God do the rest.
Give your best.
Doubt your instincts.
The Best Piece Of Life Advice I’ve Ever Received:
To own my voice
Currently Inspired By:
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Never Did I Think I Would:
Be a Fashion Model
Currently Reading/Listening To:
Finding Me by Viola Davis
LAVY products include sanitation pads, nail kits, hand cream, cleanser, moisturize, lip-balm and candles.
My Personal Style: