Sarah Bennison Machiels is a mother, professor, and activist. A graduate of Smith College, Columbia University, and New York University, Sarah began her career as a teacher in the South Bronx, New York, and taught in New York City public schools for several years before pursuing her Ph.D. in history and education. While teaching at NYU, Sarah became involved in Village Health Works, a health clinic in rural Burundi, East Africa, on a volunteer basis. Her involvement started with pajamas: when Sarah heard that the clinic was in need of footed pajamas as sick, newborn babies were dying at night because they were unable to regulate their own body temperatures, Sarah emailed 15 friends asking for pajama donations. Within three days over 200 pairs of pajamas appeared, and this began a movement of pajama collecting and donating that now spans donation sites all over the world. Her company, BENNISON, sells high quality children’s wear, hand made by mothers and grandmothers in Lima, Peru, of the finest 100% Pima cotton. With each sale, customers give to children in need through donations of pajamas and through funds toward specific projects in maternal and children’s health.
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