In Chichewa,
UFULU means freedom.

That’s a concept that needs no translation.

A chance meeting in 2018 gave 
Widge a new purpose in life.

Widge Woolsey knew how hard it was get pads and tampons in Africa, but it never occurred to her what females in Malawi were using for their periods. Whilst staying with a friend in Malawi, she met a woman called Nandi Mwakhwawa and they became good friends. Nandi explained to Widge that women and girls in Malawi were using old rags torn from t-shirts because they couldn’t afford desposable pads.

Widge and Nandi
Nandi with rags

“I started Ufulu with the dream of giving women and girls the chance to work and go to school full time, without the shame and discomfort of using rags for their periods.”

Each cup holds about 25ml of blood.
And so much more.

UFULU provides free menstrual cups to females in Malawi, but that’s just part of the story. Because they are reusable and last up to 10 years, cups are kinder to the environment and more economical (more on that here).

Having a cup means a girl can go to school and gain her education. Cups mean women can go to work and support their famlilies.

Girls have the confidence to stay in school and women, to go to work when they have their periods because they know using a cup means they are safe from leaks and smells and they are protected.

Over 60% of women that Ufulu has given cups to, are single mothers with more than three children. Having a cup means a single mother can work and support her family every day of the month, even when she has her period.

That is life changing.

Cups Ladies lead the way.

UFULU empowers women to share knowledge. Every Ufulu Cup Lady will have been using a cup for at least three months before she starts running workshops. This means she has the confidence to teach other women and girls. All our Cup Ladies are trained  in facilitating workshops and teaching others how to insert, remove and care for their own cups. Cups are very new in Malawi. Ufulu wants every female to have the confidence to use her cup safely right from the start.

Women empowering women.

Widge has over 20 years of experience in logistics & admin, in a career that has spanned from corporate finance to film and technology, to charitable organisations. Her love of Africa (especially Malawi) brought about a strong desire to end period poverty and inspired her to set up UFULU, to make some positive changes in the world. Widge believes that sanitary products are a basic human right, and no girl should miss out on her education just because she has her period.
Nandi inspired Widge to create UFULU. She has a certificate in Women’s Health and Hygiene and already provides free contraception and information on safe sex practices. Nandi has embraced the role as Cup Lady and is a positive role model for women and girls in her community.
Originally from Burundi, Devota has been living in Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi, for the last 20 years. She fled the genocide in 1994 with her familiy and sought refuge in Malawi. Devota has worked tirelessly to distribute cups to thousands of women fleeing destitution and war. She speaks 6 languages, has a college degree, and is the embodiment of female empowerment.
Martha has been a Cup Lady since January 2021. Running workshops at the secondary schools in Area 23, she is responsible for over 800 teenage girls being given cups. Martha is really proud to be working for Ufulu and has requests from women every week to attend workshops.
When asked what she thinks of UFULU, this 29-year-old shared:
“Ufulu is tackling the problems that women have been facing during their period. It has changed the lives of me and the women around me.”

Chisomo has been distributing cups since March 2022. She told us:

“Ufulu has changed the lives of many women already in Malawi and has made going to school and working so much easier for so many women. Also, husbands are not going to complain because now women can manage their periods better. Many marriages suffer because women struggle with their periods.”

A trained social worker, Dama loves helping women in her community by giving them free menstrual cups.

“UFULU is a life-changing opportunity that has and is transforming lives. Women are now comfortable doing things at any time without doubting themselves.”

A former engineer at Rolls Royce, John has spent the majority of his career in executive finance positions with Amsterdam Rotterdam Bank, EBC AmroBank, Samuel Montagu & Co, and WestLBGroup. He earned a degree from the University of Sussex and a MBA from INSEAD, and sits on both their Endowment Committee and InternationalCouncil. He was also the Chairman of Integrity Action, an NGO committed to reducing corruption.
A qualified accountant and business analyst, with nearly 25 years of experience in IT and operations, Louise currently works as IT Product Management Leader for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She is looking forward to visiting Widge in Malawi to see the work done by UFULU for herself and the difference being made to the lives of the women and girls who live there.
Nicki has extensive generalist HR experience across arts, digital, music, entertainment, media and creative sectors. She became a trustee for UFULU because she wanted to help make a difference for young girls and women in Malawi. She also felt, that after many years working in highly successful businesses, it was time to give something back.

With a background in the events and business development sector, from the moment Annie heard about UFULU it struck a chord.  She knew it was a project she wanted to be involved with and is proud to be helping to continue to grow both the charity, and global awareness of period poverty.

Michele has spent her career in marketing at Microsoft and Apple which took her to San Francisco and Los Angeles. She now leads brand communications at Expedia. As the mum of a 13-year-old daughter, she wants to help create change for the women of Malawi who don’t have access to period products.