Shamila Ramjawan: global leader

The founder of Famram Solutions has been recognised for her work in keeping rural girls and young women in schools, by the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development. She is driven by the belief that “education transforms women into inspirational leaders”.

“Everyone has it within themselves to change the lives of less fortunate South Africans,” said Shamila Ramjawan, founder and CEO of Famram Solutions and the Famram Foundation. (Image: Supplied)

For Shamila Ramjawan, receiving a Global Female Leadership Impact Award is an opportunity to spread the word of her work to a larger, more global audience. The Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (Celd) award ceremony will take place in Dubai this month. Ramjawan will not only be recognised for her work in uplifting South African women, but will also sit on a panel – “Transformational CEOs Discussion Panel” – with women from around the world who are driving economic growth.

Female business and community leaders from 100 countries will gather in the Gulf nation to celebrate the impact of women on their communities. “What a great way to begin a new year,” Ramjawan says without pretence. “As a change agent, I am looking forward to meeting and networking with high profile people from various parts of the world as I am passionate about making a global impact. This award will contribute immensely to more exposure and visibility. Furthermore, I will be featured in a double page spread in the Amazon Watch Special Edition Magazine, which will be published in January 2018.”

Girls and young women still in school often miss up to seven days of schooling every month. Shamila Ramjawan’s solution, the PrincessD Menstrual Cup, has not only changed the lives of these young women but has also created work across southern Africa.

Ramjawan, the founder and CEO of Famram Solutions and the Famram Foundation, will be inducted into Celd’s Hall of Fame in the Emerging Economies Top 100 Most Influential Women in the World category. “It all feels surreal and I am excited to represent South Africa as an ambassador for Brand South Africa as this award is essentially the Academy Awards of Business Leaders making impactful contributions in society on a global scale.”

Everyone has it within themselves to change the lives of less fortunate South Africans, she says. Through her communication and marketing work for corporates and the government, she came to realise the need for a sustainable solution for the menstrual needs of women, especially in rural areas.

Girls and young women still in school often miss up to seven days of schooling every month. Her solution, the PrincessD Menstrual Cup, has not only changed the lives of these young women but has also created work across southern Africa. “Most corporates provide technology, science and maths resources and we advise them that if girls do not have sanitary products they will not benefit from those resources because they won’t be able to attend school for five to seven days a month. Instead, we send out requests to corporate and government departments to work with us in keeping girls in school with a sustainable ten-year product.”

Ramjawan’s company motto is “Be the princess that you are. Period”. She holds that women can make an impact on their communities and the world if they are given opportunities. She has expanded the menstrual cup project to 15 countries in Africa, the USA, Canada and to the Philippines.

The PrincessD Menstrual Cup – named for Ramjawan’s daughter, Daksha – project is more than just an initiative to keep girls in school. “We don’t give a girl a box and tell them to use it.  We take them through the education around menstruation – how to use their cup, insert, remove and sterilise. We include empowerment of girls, telling our stories, inviting ambassadors and role models when we do handovers. We are growing the training and development project in 2018; we will be offering life skills and career guidance, and then will introduce the PrincessD Menstrual Cup under women’s health and menstruation matters.”

“Education transforms women into inspirational leaders and we have to bestow a basic need on our school girls by providing them with a sustainable menstrual product so that we can keep our girls in school during menstruation as they are our future leaders,” said Shamila Ramjawan.

In 2016, Ramjawan was nominated in the Unsung Heroine Special Category in Miss SA 2005 Joan Madibeng’s Women: Real Architect of Society Awards as was athlete Caster Semenya, who then decided to partner and become a co-owner in Famram Solutions.. Together they have started a green campus initiative with the University of Pretoria. The eco-friendly menstrual cup admits them to programmes designed to make universities more green.

Famram has been invited to participate in the university’s health and wellness programmes under which the PrincessD Menstrual Cup is available at reduced rates for students. The university’s teaching staff have embraced the project and are buying cups for students whose budgets do not stretch far enough,” she says.

It is further proof to Ramjawan that people are willing to do all they can to help others when given a chance. They believe as she does in the power of an educated girl. “Education transforms women into inspirational leaders and we have to bestow a basic need on our school girls by providing them with a sustainable menstrual product so that we can keep our girls in school during menstruation as they are our future leaders. Therefore, people can play their part by encouraging their organisations to partner with us so that we can, as champions of change, collaborate and change lives together.”

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