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Our Story and Strategy

Irise / Our Story and Strategy

Our Story

In 2011 our founder and CEO, Emily, was doing research with school children in East Africa to identify reasons why they were missing school. Periods came up again and again but at the time there was nothing to help girls overcome this challenge. Irise was founded to create a world where no girl was held back by something as simple, and fundamental as her period. We have rapidly grown from a group of young women in the UK and Uganda with no connections or funding into an international NGO with 16 staff across two continents, reaching over 100,000 girls and working with governments, academics and communities to realise our vision. In 2019 we received the Power Together Award from the Global Women Political Leaders Forum in recognition of our contribution to building a global movement to end period poverty and shame. We dedicated it to our grassroots network of advocates whose passion and perseverance are building a better world for everyone.

Our name is take from the famous Maya Angelou poem “Still I Rise”. Empowerment is at the heart of everything we do.

Latest News from Our Projects

Read about the sustainable, transformative impact of your investment on the lives of young people and their communities

"Being able to support Irise has not only empowered myself and people that attend our events but also allowed me to help tackle a crises that can not simply be ignored.”

Josh - Volunteer

"Irise is the first community I have been a part of where I have felt completely open talking about periods; the supportive culture has provided me with an important safe space to break down my own internalised menstrual stigma."

Sophie - Advocacy Trustee

"I'm working with Irise to fight the stigma and taboo around periods because if people were more open to talking about periods when I was at school I wouldn't have been so worried! ”

Lizzie - Agent of Change

"I did not want to be with my friends, I would sit alone, but since Irise came and taught us, I feel free, I be with my friends”

Lukia - Ugandan Schoolgirl

"After learning and understanding menstruation with Irise, all I wanted to do was to let people know that it is something to be proud of not to be ashamed."

Sam - Ugandan advocate