Young Leaders, Big Inspiration
Today I want to share with you a small selection of young leaders who are carrying out inspiring work within the Menstrual Health Movement, all of which will be guests on an upcoming Empower Period Podcast focused on young people leading. Whilst menstrual health has gained increasing political and social awareness over the past few years, it is the hard work of young activists like these which is truly pushing the cause forward.
Firstly, we have Mandi Tembo from Zimbabwe. Mandi is currently conducting a PhD research fellowship with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, her focus is on menstrual health management and adolescent sexual and reproductive health among young women in Zimbabwe. Mandi is passionate about women’s reproductive health, with a deep understanding of how women’s issues intersect with public health. She is also the founder of The Bleed Read, a virtual platform that covers all things menstruation. The Bleed Read is an all-inclusive global platform, a resource and space for all. Her mission is to amplify the narrative of menstruators through dialogue and the sharing of experiences and information in a safe and dynamic space, in the hope of helping to create a world where menstrual health is seen as important and intrinsic to the health and wellbeing of everyone!
Tine Matambanadzo is also a menstrual health leader from Zimbabwe who is the founder of both the As I Am Foundation and the Zimbabwe Endometriosis Support Network. Endometriosis is a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and can cause extreme pelvic pain, particularly during menstruation. The condition appears differently in everyone and can take years to be diagnosed properly due to a lack of information and awareness, which is why support networks like those set up by Tine are so important. Tine works to empower communities in Zimbabwe through the facilitation of skills and training, despite her own physical and mental struggles with endometriosis. She has dedicated her life to being the voice of the voiceless and strongly believes that pain can be turned into power.
Molly Fenton is a UK based campaigner who founded the Love Your Period Campaign. The campaign is well known across the UK today with thousands of followers on social media. Their purpose is to create a safe space allowing people to come together to love and accept periods. The hope is that this will in turn contribute to eradicating period stigma in the UK and tackle issues of period poverty. Molly has also fiercely petitioned against the use of plastic in period products, arguing manufacturers should have to disclaim the materials they use in each product. Molly argues that these products are used on our most intimate areas and we deserve the right to make informed choices and be aware of exactly how these substances affect our bodies.
Aleena Khan is also based in the UK and is one of the founders and members of the social advocacy campaign PSA: Period, based in Wales. PSA: Period is a group of 21-25 year olds who aim to promote positive, sustainable, accessible periods for all communities. The campaign has gained amazing recognition within the social activism community and even reached the semi finals in the UpRising Social Campaign Awareness event! Aleena herself leads in online networking with key stakeholders from multinationals to mosques, as well as facilitating a range of online educational events and seminars.
If you are feeling inspired by these amazing examples of young leadership and advocacy, you too can have the chance to lead real social change in your community, as well as at a national level. By enrolling in our Empower Period Programme, you can become an Agent of Change and gain the skills and support needed to develop your own advocacy project to end period shame in your community, transforming period fear into freedom. Head to https://irise.org.uk/advocate and scroll down to ‘Join Empower Period’ to find out more about the fantastic opportunities we have available, including advocacy, leadership, mentoring, accessing training, webinars, events and more!