Elle International

Providing a platform to serve women through proper education around sustainable menstrual hygiene management

Our Story

Elle International is a Non Profit Organization began in 2016 out of the need to empower young women in South Africa. Primarily we focus on areas of sexual-reproductive health as well as comprehensive education to promote dignity, education, health and socio-economic inclusion. We aim to provide a platform to serve women through comprehensive education around sustainable menstrual hygiene management.

Currently we are actively involved in a number of high schools by providing education and training to school girls and teachers. On average, 1/10 girls drop out of school due to inadequate means to manage their menstruation. We strive to change these statistics through education and partnerships with organisations who also focus on women empowerment. Elle International aims to assist in meeting the longer term global challenges, such as put forward in the 2018 Sustainable development Goals to facilitate reducing school drop out rates amongst adolescent girls due to inadequate means/education and facilities to manage menstruation.

Elle International NPC is a non profit organisation which directly supports education and distribution of the ElleCup, a reusable menstrual cup. We teach sustainable menstrual hygiene practices to girls and women in impoverished areas in South Africa. The primary function of Elle International is to assist in implementing tools around sustainable menstrual hygiene management practices to empower girls, minimize waste and disease, and break stigmas and taboos surrounding menstruation.

Through the ages, women in Africa have always been dealt an unjust card when it comes to menstruation & sanitation management. Cultures, social systems, beliefs & religions have overruled the need for education to break taboos and liberate women and girls into true health, education and empowerment. ElleCup has been introduced out of the need to empower young girls and women in the areas of Health, Education, Social and Economic participation & inclusion, and just one ElleCup can do that for a girl!

Girls in Kenya miss an average of 5 days of school each month because of their periods. In fact, the United Nations Children’s Fund says one in 10 African girls skip school during menstruation. Some drop out entirely because they lack access to sanitary products. 83% of girls in Burkina Faso and 77% in Niger have no place to change their sanitary menstrual materials at school. Similar issues affect girls in India, Cambodia and Iran.

In WaterAid’s report on menstruation, Menstrual Hygiene Matters, a woman from Tanzania about her first period. She remembered, “I didn’t know what was happening or what to do to manage menstruation. I used cotton wool, pages from an exercise book, leaves from trees. I suffered much embarrassment at school because I leaked and stained my uniform.”

It’s not just girls’ education that suffers during menstruation, but overall health. For instance, 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene – it can also affect maternal mortality. In urban India, 43%-88% of girls use reusable cloth during menstruation, yet they are often washed without soap or clean water.

ElleCup is a soft reusable menstrual cup worn internally just like a tampon except it collects menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. ElleCup has endless benefits, it is healthy, cost effective and convenient than tampons or pads. And it lasts up to 15 years!

It is also eco-friendly: The average woman uses 12, 000 tampons or up to 20, 000 pads in her lifetime. This waste & the associated packaging all end up flushed down the toilet or dumped in landfill sites.

Introducing The ElleCup into the higher income-earning retail sector enables us to donate a cup to a girl in an impoverished area for every cup sold, through our Buy One, Give One initiative.

BuyOneGiveOne: The notion of the Buy One Give One campaign is for Elle International NPC to match the amount of ElleCups sold buy funds raised through donations and sponsorships.

– Chelsea Hornby