Binti is here to " #smashshame " around menstruation.
Manjit has always fought for what she believed in, particularly when all that was needed was just a voice. Her first pivotal moment was when she first heard the stories on the ground,as a mentor for a business woman in Kenya with the Cherie Blair Foundation, and the girls thanked her for listening to them.
“Binti” means “young lady” in Swahili, “daughter of” in Arabic, and “request” in Punjabi.
Ogunte: What are you doing differently at Binti?
MG: We would like to normalise the discussion around periods. We set up low cost production units, hire women to produce their own sanitary pads. We teach what menstruation is, not only from a biological perspective but also to ensure that girls are equipped to handle the emotional impact of periods. We want them to understand the social stigmas. So we tackle the cultural shame through our interactive programme. Finally, we empower them to be strong girls so we encourage them to dream big and know that they are just as brilliant as boys. Lastly we have created a global social media platform where we share period stories. This includes artists who fight taboos with their creations; poets that use words to evoke thoughts; graphic designers to create visuals to question thoughts.
Ogunte: What does it take to run Binti successfully?
MG: The most important factor that leads the work we do is to remember the end goal which is every girl deserves dignity, period. All decisions we make are based on the impact of that goal. Our work is very inclusive and diverse so we create a space which allows for growth within the organisation for all who join us. It doesn't matter what your age is, because girls as young as 9 start their periods. We listen to all of their experiences and their views are important as they dictate our future. Never give up. Find a solution. Bend rules to make things work. Miracles happen every day, don't ignore them.
£5.00 donated will pay for the supply of one girl's pads annually in India
Ogunte: What do you wish the world should know about your impact?
MG: We keep close relationships with all of our stakeholders. Reporting is second and evaluation is third. £5.00 donated will pay for the supply of one girl's pads annually in India whilst it also increases the success of our projects because they are bought from our production units projects.
Ogunte: What ideal conversation would you love to have with an investor or a funder?
MG: We need this NOW. You will love the impact that you make to the lives of these girls. Girls who think bleeding with no protection is dirty and learn to live with it, creating low self-esteem and the belief that periods are a horrible thing.
We are committed to menstruation dignity. Period.
Ogunte: How does your world look like in 2030?
MG: We will be a world renown organisation with projects empowering women to take care of themselves. The numbers from statistics of poor menstrual hygiene will have reduced. Smashing shame around menstruation will be a fun tool. Boys will know what a period is. Girls will know what a period is before they start their first one. And I will be fit enough to run around the world making my mark on it!
Ogunte: If I tell you “love”, what are you telling me?
MG: Love to me is the opposite of fear. Right now I have no fear in anything that I do and if it crops up, I find a solution. Fear is just a niggly question that needs answering. Will I find enough money to change the world? Only one way to find out.
Ogunte: What do you know now that you wished you had known from the beginning?
MG: That everything will get done.