Empowering young women

Ramona Kasavan is committed to empowering young girls and women through the first and only black female-owned sanitary pads company in South Africa - Mimi Women. Photo: Supplied

Social entrepreneur Ramona Kasavan founded the first and only black female-owned sanitary pads company, Mimi Women. The company has branches in Sandton and Durban and is committed to empowering girls and women in some of the country’s poorest areas.

“When I discovered that thousands of South African girls were not attending school at certain times of the month because they did not have access to sanitary pads, I felt compelled to do something about it,” she said. “That’s when I started Happy Days [now Mimi Women], a non-profit organisation, which was dependent on donor funding.”

When she grew weary of chasing donors, she transformed the organisation into a for-profit operation aimed at supporting its non-profit arm, the Mimi Foundation, which keeps girls in school through donated sanitary pads.

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A distribution arm now provides business opportunities for women in impoverished areas and a fundraising arm seeks to fund the establishment of a local factory to manufacture pads.

Social entrepreneur Ramona Kasavan is committed to empowering young women through Mimi Women, a sanitary pads company helping girls access pads and providing business opportunities for disadvantaged women. Photo: Supplied

Pads are currently sourced from local and Chinese manufacturers. The sanitary pad factory, which is expected to be operational by the end of this year, will pave the way for Mimi pads to enter the South African fast-moving customer goods market.

Kasavan developed MimiBizBox, a business-in-a-box tool allowing disadvantaged women to sell affordable pads to their local communities and create an independent income for themselves.

With an investment of R600, women can turn a profit within three months, enabling them to break the minimum wage barrier. The MimiBizBox includes 60 packs of pads (10 sanitary pads per pack), a branded T-shirt, marketing materials and a step-by-step business manual which will guide the new business owners in the right direction. Each pack costs the agent R10 and sells for R15, delivering them a profit of R300 per 60 pads sold.

“It’s a direct selling model that is all about empowering women and giving them the tools to create their own opportunities and grow their own business. They can have their own agents or pitch their ideas to business incubators,” said Kasavan.

For every Mimi pack sold, a pack will be donated to the foundation to allow more women access to pads.

To purchase the pads, visit www.mimiagentsforchange.org and find the ‘purchase for yourself’ option. The other option available is the ‘purchase and donate’, where you can choose to donate a year supply to a girl under ‘sponsor a girl’.

Check out their website at www.mimiwomen.com to find out more.


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Staff Reporter

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