Catherine Nakayemba, a Ugandan entrepreneur manufacturing menstrual kits for rural women and girls — Lionesses of Africa

What inspired you to start your company?

After losing my parents at a very young age, and without the love and support of a family, l struggled to obtain my most basic needs such as food and tuition. Undaunted, l persevered and managed to complete my secondary school education. At that point l was able to live with my aunt, my only remaining family member.
More challenges arose when l began to menstruate. With no sanitary supplies available to me, l was forced to use rudimentary materials such as banana fibers and paper. Like most of the girls l have met, l was forced to stay home and miss school when l had my first period. At one point, believing that menstruation was making her sick, my aunt took me to a witch doctor to “cure” me. Fortunately, a friend took me to a hospital where l was diagnosed with an infection. After completing my A-level studies l joined SINA (Social Innovation Academy Academy) where, for the first time in my life, l received the support l had always lacked, including coaching and mentorship. As an effort to pay it forward and help others like myself, l co-founded Safe Girl.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

Safe Girl not only provides reusable sanitary pads but we provide a menstrual kit that consists of two reusable sanitary pads, a knicker, a storage bag and a piece of soap. This package is enough to take a girl a full year without spending more on pads. As an additional service we offer education about menstruation and hygiene at large to keep our customers and beneficiaries informed.

Tell us a little about your team

We are a team of three (3) passionate ladies with other supporting team members in operation and production. With me as the administrator, Angella as the marketing manager and fundraiser, and Ndagire as the sales coordinator.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

My aunt was an entrepreneur and she always came up with an idea that could bring in daily income to support us. She always inspired us to think outside the box. After being mentored at the social innovation academy, l started putting everything l learnt from home and from the academy into practice. It wasn’t easy to focus on what I am doing right now. I had lots of ideas but didn’t know which one to focus on until l found someone who had the same passion as mine, helping to improve lives of marginalized girls and women in rural Uganda.

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