Social activist Candice Chirwa changes the narrative on menstrual health

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Candice Chirwa. Image provided by Levergy Agency
Candice Chirwa. Image provided by Levergy Agency
  • Activist Candice Chirwa, known as the minister of menstruation, has always had a strong desire to assist others.
  • She teaches the youth about hardships women and young girls face.
  • It has been humbling for her to have the opportunity to help other young people realise their full potential.

Academic, author, professional speaker and menstrual activist, Candice Chirwa is on a quest to change the disempowering narrative surrounding menstruation.

Candice, fondly known as the minister of menstruation says she has always had a passion for helping people.

"The passion was curated in university within academic spaces in reading and understanding the world a little bit more to change it for the better for the next generation," she says.

She also had a love for feminism in advocating for a better world for women and vulnerable groups. 

READ MORE | Want to ditch pads or tampons, but menstrual cups aren't your thing? Try leak-proof panties

"Thus, when I started my career as a menstrual activist, it refined my purpose in going into communities in having workshops."

In 2018, Candice founded her non-governmental organisation, QRate. The intention behind it is to enhance critical thinking in young people in society and educate them by outlining some of the difficulties that women and young girls face.

Candice Chirwa
The minister of menstruation, Candice Chirwa is passionate about removing discomfort in taboo topics. Image provided by Levergy Agency

Her journey to social activism started in 2017, but she had been involved in giving back through community service by donating food and clothes through her school programmes from the age of 14.

"I have also been passionate about writing on feminist topics in high school. The key lesson that I’ve learnt from my 11 years of activism, is that you must be willing to educate yourself and learn from others. Read, watch documentaries, listen to podcasts, and do your research. Do whatever you can to learn more about your cause," she says.

So what does the minister of menstruation do?

Part of her work is to discuss the importance of menstrual health and not treat it as a taboo subject.

Candice works on removing the discomfort in taboo topics such as menstruation, puberty, and reproduction health as these issues are vital for young women and girls who feel disempowered by a natural biological function that occurs in the vast majority of the population

"I believe my work speaks to mobilising effort to challenge menstrual taboos, especially in educating young people about their periods to be informed, educated and empowered to receive the support they require to live healthy happy lives throughout their cycles, says Candice."

She is the Social Good & Sustainability Changemaker for Nedbank’s YouthX programme. 

Being a change maker and having the opportunity to empower other young people to unlock their true potential has been humbling for her.

"As the Social Good & Sustainability Changemaker, my work is focused on empowering young people to find their purpose in unlocking their true potential in starting their own movements or organisations that would change their communities for the better. I hosted a masterclass and also have the opportunity of mentoring young people within this field who would want to start their own social initiatives."

READ MORE | Adidas period proof tights to keep more people who menstruate in sport, plus other similar innovations

"The YouthX Summit will be a festival where the change-makers will be presenting awards to young people who applied their ideas, and they will be rewarded with the opportunity to bring them to life and win specular prizes. I am really looking forward to the 29th of October," she says.

Three tips that Candice would give to a young person who would like to change their community and build a reputable career in social activism:

Use your voice and use it for good: Amplify the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups in making society aware of why this specific cause needs attention.

Volunteer: Even if it’s once a month helping at a soup kitchen or creating a group to tutor students from impoverished areas, volunteer any way that you can. Volunteering offers wonderful opportunities to network and gain knowledge and experience. Start by helping an organisation whose work you admire; you’ll learn more about your chosen cause and make valuable connections by finding great mentors.

Lead by example: Practice what you believe in, especially if you want to be a social entrepreneur. You must incorporate activism into your everyday life by living and acting in ways that support your cause. 

Additional information: Levergy Agency

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