Help-Her-Blossom-Hanan-Ahmed's-Mission-to-Restore-Dignity-and-Empower-Women

Help Her Blossom Hanan Ahmed’s Mission to Restore Dignity and Empower Women

Hanan Ahmed, the CEO of Han’s Reusable Sanitary Manufacturing, passionately advocates for women’s hygiene and empowerment. Her remarkable journey from the aviation industry to fashion and accessory design led her to recognize the pressing need for menstrual hygiene management in her community. Motivated by her own experiences, Hanan embarked on a mission to break the barriers that hindered girls’ education and to promote dignity for women and older people. Her company’s “Help Her Blossom” campaign has provided reusable sanitary pads and dignity kits to women and girls across various communities in Ethiopia. Through her dedication and compassion, Hanan is transforming lives and creating a better society for women, writes EBR’s Eden Teshome.

Hanan Ahmed, the CEO of Han’s Reusable Sanitary Manufacturing, has dedicated her life to advocating for women’s hygiene and breaking down the barriers that hinder their progress. Through her innovative products and unwavering commitment, she has become a driving force in promoting menstrual hygiene management and restoring dignity to women and girls in Ethiopia.

Hanan’s journey began in an entirely different industry – aviation. However, her creative spirit and desire for meaningful impact led her to explore the world of fashion and accessory design. During the challenging times of the COVID–19 pandemic, Hanan recognized an opportunity to give back to her community. She started producing face masks and shields, ensuring that her products met the highest quality and sustainability standards. Motivated by her firsthand experiences and the pressing need for menstrual hygiene management, Hanan expanded her product line to include reusable sanitary pads, underwear, and incontinence products for women and older people.

Reflecting on her journey, Hanan shared, “I saw the struggles that women and girls face to manage their menstrual hygiene. I knew that something had to be done to break the cycle of shame and limited access to proper sanitary products. I wanted to create a solution that would empower women and allow them to lead lives without hindrances.”

The “Help Her Blossom” campaign, spearheaded by Hanan and her team, has become a transformative force in addressing menstrual hygiene management in Ethiopia. The campaign aims to provide cost-effective interventions to women and girls in various parts of the community, including schools, universities, internally displaced people (IDP) camps, and penitentiary centres. Emphasizing the importance of the campaign, Hanan stated, “Our goal is to create a society where no woman or girl has to sacrifice her education or dignity because of menstruation. We want to remove the barriers and taboos surrounding menstruation and provide sustainable solutions that truly empower women.”

Hanan’s products have made a tangible difference in the lives of girls who have received the reusable sanitary pads and dignity kits. The positive impact of these interventions is evident in the reduction of missed school days due to menstruation. Mothers and girls have expressed relief and gratitude for the campaign, describing it as a significant step towards empowerment and overall well-being. By addressing the challenges of menstrual hygiene management, Hanan’s initiative is allowing girls to attend school regularly and pursue their dreams without hindrances.

Hanan’s advocacy extends beyond her immediate community. She has participated in national and international conferences, sharing her experiences and insights to inspire others to take action. Speaking at these events, she raises awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene management and encourages individuals and organizations to collaborate to address this global issue. Hanan’s efforts have attracted attention and support from various stakeholders, including government officials, NGOs, and international organizations, further amplifying the reach and impact.

Hanan stressed the importance of collaboration: “We cannot achieve lasting change alone. It takes a collective effort to break the barriers and create a society that values menstrual hygiene management. By partnering with the Ministry of Health, private institutions, and NGOs, we can reach more communities, raise awareness, and ensure the sustainability of our initiatives.”

However, Hanan’s path has not been without challenges. One of the main obstacles she encountered was the profoundly ingrained societal taboo surrounding menstruation. Hanan took a courageous step to address this and shared her personal story. She opened up about her struggles to attend school during her high school years due to an undiagnosed infection. This infection eventually led to cervical infection and later cervical cancer, resulting in multiple miscarriages and the devastating news that she would not be able to bear children. By sharing her story, Hanan aimed to raise awareness about the health risks associated with menstruation and break the stigma surrounding it.

Reflecting on the importance of breaking taboos, Hanan emphasized, “We need to have honest conversations about menstruation. It’s a natural process that should not be shrouded in shame or secrecy. By normalizing discussions about periods, we can educate people and promote understanding and acceptance.”

Recognizing the need for education and awareness, Hanan has conducted workshops and training sessions on menstrual hygiene management. She has collaborated with schools, universities, and community centres to educate girls and women about proper menstrual hygiene practices, the importance of using hygienic products, and how to manage their periods with dignity. Through these initiatives, Hanan aims to equip women and girls with the knowledge and resources they need to lead healthy lives and overcome the challenges associated with menstruation.

Education plays a pivotal role in breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation and promoting gender equality. Hanan firmly believes that we can foster a more equitable society by integrating menstrual hygiene management into school curricula, offering accurate information and resources, and empowering girls to challenge stereotypes. Hanan affirmed, “Education is the key to empowering girls and changing societal attitudes. We must equip [girls] with the knowledge and confidence to advocate for their rights and create positive changes in their communities.”

Looking to the future, Hanan envisions a society where menstrual hygiene management is a priority and a fundamental aspect of women’s empowerment. She dreams of a world where every girl has access to safe and affordable menstrual products, where taboos and stigmas surrounding menstruation are eradicated, and where women and girls can thrive without barriers. Hanan’s determination and unwavering commitment to her cause continue to drive her forward, and she hopes to expand her reach and impact even further, both within Ethiopia and beyond.

Hanan Ahmed’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and advocacy. Through her company, Han’s Reusable Sanitary Manufacturing, and her “Help Her Blossom” campaign, she transforms lives, empowers women and girls, and challenges societal norms. Hanan’s dedication serves as an inspiration to individuals and communities, reminding us of the importance of menstrual hygiene management and the profound impact it can have on the well-being and success of women and girls.

The lack of affordable and hygienic menstrual products often leads to unhygienic practices, discomfort, and health risks. Additionally, the financial burden of purchasing disposable products can be prohibitive for many women, further exacerbating their vulnerability. The shame and stigma associated with menstruation can result in social exclusion, missed educational opportunities, and limited participation in social activities. Addressing these barriers and promoting menstrual hygiene management empowers women to lead healthy, dignified lives and unlock their full potential.EBR


12th Year • March 2024 • No. 127

Eden Teshome

Editor-in-Chief of Ethiopian Business Review (EBR). She can be reached at eden.teshome@ethiopianbusinessreview.net


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