The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) estimates that 1 in 10 African girls miss school because of their periods.
Zaakira Mahomed, a founding member of Happy With a Purpose and Mina menstrual cups says menstruation, is still often not a topic that is openly discussed in many families - despite it being a bodily process over which women have no choice.
Menstruation has been a taboo subject for many years it is not something that is easily discussed in many families, it's not something that we talk about openly.— Zaakira Mahomed, founding member of Happy With A Purpose and Mina menstrual cups
Because of lack of education most cultures in the world think having a period means you have bad luck.— Zaakira Mahomed, founding member of Happy With A Purpose and Mina menstrual cups
Mahomed was awarded the “Woman in Business 2014/2015” award by the South African Turkish Business Association of South Africa (SATBA), for her efforts to uplift communities.
She says she was petrified at first at the thought of women using menstrual cups. She thought no one would want to use these cups.
But after doing some extensive research she felt it was a good solution to the challenges girls face not being able to afford costly menstrual pads and tampons.
When Mina found me, I thought this is the answer for the girl child and I decided it was worth the fight of the cultural taboos that we going to come across.— Zaakira Mahomed, founding member of Happy With A Purpose and Mina menstrual cups
She explained how the cup works and some of the benefits as:
- The cup can be used for up to 6 hours* It is soft and flexible, made out of 100% medical grade silicon.
- It collects up to 3 times more fluid than a tampon
- It is easy to clean - to sanitise you can boil in hot water for 5 minutes.
- 1 cup lasts up to 5 years
It is time to educate our elders and our children to say that having periods is just a part of being a woman there is nothing taboo about it.— Zaakira Mahomed, founding member of happy with a purpose and MINA menstrual cups
She says the Mina campaign as a movement, a way to prevent young women from missing 1000s of school hours because they do not have sanitary products.
In addition, Mina is environmentally and body friendly. Tampons and sanitary pads take years to biodegrade and are also believed to have a negative impact on some women's health.
To hear more about Mina and how it works, listen below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Mina menstrual cups an answer for Africa's teen girls