Shamila Ramjawan is changing everyday life of African girls

Famram Solutions is a high-impact company helping girls and women reclaim their dignity with the release of PrincessD, a new hygienic menstrual cup that has already changed the lives of thousands of girls and women while creating jobs throughout the sub-Saharan region. The result of Shamila Ramjawan’s vision, made in South Africa.

“Education transforms women into inspiring leaders.”

This is Shamila Ramjawan’s intimate conviction. She is the founder and CEO of Famram Solutions and the Famram Foundation.

“After working with rural communities for more than ten years, I realized that it was absolutely necessary to find a sustainable solution for girls’ menstruation. They skip school for five days every month, sometimes seven. It is crucial for our continent that girls stay in school,

I studied the issue for about two years and, while sanitary pads have been around since the 1930s, I felt it was time to create my own brand and make it accessible to our girls, including in the countryside.”

Thus, at the beginning of 2016, she created PrincessD, a name inspired by her daughter Daksha’s first name and the nickname her grandmother gave her.

“Initially, I focused on rural and poor areas, but after launching the product, I realized it could benefit girls and women around the world because it is profitable, environmentally friendly and hygienic.”

Available in 20 African countries, but also in the United States, Canada and the Philippines, PrincessD has not only changed the lives of thousands of girls but has also created jobs throughout southern Africa. Shamila’s commitment extends beyond, through the Famram Foundation in particular.

“We are incorporating girls’ empowerment into all we do. I encourage funding and sponsorship for educational programs, resources and products from government and businesses that have a profound impact on the quality of life in rural communities. Most companies provide resources in technology, science and mathematics and we invite them to also provide hygienic products. We must work with businesses and government to invest in the well-being of young girls. Health and hygiene should be a priority in their social investment budget. We also send requests to government and ministerial departments to work with us to keep girls in school with a sustainable product over ten years. My responsibility is to continuously improve all areas of the business in which we operate, including environmental, social and economic ones, with the aim of creating a better future, for our continent and the world at large. Such is my calling: to offer a brighter future to the world’s most disadvantaged communities.”

Shamila, a widow who raises her children alone, is convinced that women can play a pivotal role in their communities and in the world if given the opportunity. She didn’t wait for a handout. During her lifetime, she was able to “create her own opportunities”.

“I was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, and enrolled in Woodlands Secondary School. In 1998, my husband died suddenly, and I was faced with the difficult task of raising my two children alone. As I worked in a large manufacturing company, in 2002 I was offered a promotion and retraining, which I agreed to because I felt some change would do me good. I have been working in the marketing and communications industry for more than two decades and have acquired extensive experience and knowledge. I have held management positions in various organizations and have acted as a representative for them up to the level of the Board of Directors. I therefore have extensive experience in operational and strategic management, change management, brand management, events management, media relations, but also in digital, ATL and BTL advertising and corporate social responsibility. And I finally started my business without any external financing, with my own funds.”

An impressive journey that she recounts in “Marketing Tools and Strategies” published in July 2013. While she is preparing a second book, she gives many advises and tips on her Facebook page entitled “Motivational Quotes”… for women in particular.

“Businesswomen work ten times harder! They must earn a salary while bearing all the risks associated with running their own business, while a normal employee has a fixed salary that is eagerly awaited every month. Take calculated risks and rule out the fear of failure, because hard work ultimately pays off,” she urges.

A message she also conveyed while participating in the second Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative Global Forum last September in Marrakesh, as a laureate of Program 54. While Shamila has received many awards, both national and international, she was “delighted to represent South Africa” at WIA, adding: “Based on my experience as a junior entrepreneur, I empower and motivate women, using my life story as an example. It is always essential to tell your story and let people know where you come from. Show people that you can succeed in the face of difficulties or even adversity, in my case,” she says before adding: “This WIA partnership is the key. This platform allows us to connect and grow together.”

As a WIA 54 Laureate, Shamila won a scholarship from our partner Honoris United Universities. 

“Learning is a continuous process in the cycle of life and is crucial for individual and societal development. I am honoured to be awarded a scholarship from Honoris University. This Doctorate will further my development in this thing called life.”

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