Agu Nwanyi means Powerful Woman

By Sonia Abraham

April 30, 2019

One small element can show how important you are, and equal and beautiful you are.

This vibrant red provides a bright pop for spring!

Pantone’s 2019 color of the year is Living Coral, but 15-year-old Olivia Pelenghian’s 2019 color is a bright, candy apple red. She calls it Agu Nwanyi, meaning “powerful woman” in a regional dialect of the Nigerian language Igbo. The high school sophomore is proving to be a powerful woman herself.

As a unique way to fulfill her school service project requirement at Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, CA, Olivia developed the nail polish to benefit women in Nigeria because women there, particularly in rural or remote areas, have limited opportunities to go to school, get health care and obtain a job.

The plight of women lacking opportunity around the world became clear to Olivia when she attended a school chapter event for Girl Up, a UN Foundation program. There she felt inspired to make a difference of her own.

“I chose to create a nail polish because it shows that the smallest thing can improve a woman’s self-esteem. One small element can show how important you are, and equal and beautiful you are,” Olivia said.

Agu Nwanyi

In developing her line of polish, she combined her interests in beauty and fashion (she uses her nail polish to add a punch of color to her black and gray wardrobe) and her passion for helping others (she hopes to become a doctor, but first she has to tackle Advanced Placement biology). Then, she consulted the best expert she knows, her dad, who’s in the nail polish business. After learning about Jhpiego, Olivia pledged the proceeds of her sales to the international health nonprofit and Johns Hopkins University affiliate to benefit its programs for mothers and newborns. Jhpiego works in 40 countries, including Nigeria, to save the lives of women and children, improve the health of families and transform futures for women and girls.

“Nail polish is a low-cost product that’s affordable to most everyone. I thought it would be a great way to raise money and to send to countries for women to obtain the resources they need,” Olivia said.

The first polish, Agu Nwanyi, is available now for $5. Olivia plans to develop more internationally inspired shades. A bright sky blue is one of her current favorites.

Take Action Challenge

To improve women’s health around the world, buy Olivia’s nail polish through Olivia1234pele@gmail.com.

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