Sanya Pirani has spent her childhood giving back to other children.
At age 7, Sanya Pirani knew what she wanted to do with her life: help others. “It’s always been my dream,” she says. “I was immersed in philanthropy, volunteerism and charity at a young age.”
Sanya took that dream and made it a reality when she started her 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Sanya’s Hope for Children in January 2017 at the age of 11. Sanya’s Hope operates from the belief that every child deserves basic human rights, such as food, shelter, clothing, safety, health and education. Its vision— her vision—is that helping a child means transforming a community one life at a time.
What started six years ago has grown into a well-oiled nonprofit machine, churning out 12 to 13 projects a year based on the needs of the community. “We run one project a month or so … it’s somewhat cyclical because we know we’ll need winter clothes, school supplies and toys every year,” Sanya says.
One of her favorite events is Christmas Bags, which are sustainable bags handsewn from recyclable materials and filled with necessities, such as school supplies, books, hats, toys and more. Sanya offers free sewing classes in hopes of inspiring others to volunteer their time while learning a life skill. The goal is 550 bags every winter—a mark that is met with the help of Sanya’s parents and a team of dedicated volunteers. “With the Christmas Bags, where you get to deliver straight to the kids in need … it’s so amazing to see their faces light up when they get those toys,” Sanya says.
In addition to successfully running Sanya’s Hope, Sanya also recently published her first book, High Tide, which she started writing in fifth grade. She loves public speaking and competing in speech. “I’ve always been interested in English,” she says. “Which intertwines nicely with nonprofit work. I can vocalize what I need from the community.”
Sanya remains focused on the momentum of her nonprofit, admitting she dreams of one day having a global reach. “My family is Pakistani, and there is so much poverty in really rural, hard-to-reach areas,” she says. “I’d love to build libraries there, so they can get the education they deserve.”
Now a senior at Prior Lake High School, Sanya looks ahead while she completes college applications. She aspires to study English and film, with the hopes of teaching someday. “Education is one of the ways to help get people out of poverty,” she says, beaming. And it sure seems that when Sanya gets a dream in her head, it’s bound to come true.