Founder of Talula – Alice Fircks lives and works on a farm in Northern Zambia. Originally from the UK, she moved to Zimbabwe in 1992, where her husband took up farming. Alice has always been involved with the farm and consequently the communities living on the farms. She has set up women’s groups, health clinics, drama events for children and feeding programs for vulnerable children during her time living in Zimbabwe. They lost their farm in Zimbabwe in 2002, so first moved to South Africa and then to Zambia in 2007. Alice has 3 grown up children.
Alice discovered the menstrual cup in 2006 and has been advocating its usefulness ever since. In 2015 she started to trial different cups with the purpose of finding the one most suitable for women in Zambia. She invited women to trial it for her and had a very positive feed back. Having selected the most suitable cup in terms of cost, medical grade silicone and shape she launched her project in January 2017.
Alice and her team consisting of Joyce Rusunda, Sandra Changwe and Jane Mwale have taken on the task of introducing the Talula Cup to Zambian women. The team travel around the country giving talks on menstrual health and hygiene, while introducing the cup as a healthy, money saving alternative to rags and pads.
Spending time with rural women gives the team an insight into the needs and difficulties of these women. The team encourage open dialogue and emphasise the need to communicate with their daughters about menstrual health and hygiene. In many cases they have discovered how little is passed on due to lack of education, traditions and embarrassment on this taboo subject.
The response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, with the team being invited to visit farms and schools every week. The word is spreading and the Talula team is growing.
For school girls to have access to this cup means that they will feel confident to attend school even during their cycle. At present most rural school girls will skip school for a few days each month due to lack of sanitary protection. The Talula cup allows girls to spend more than 8 hours without having to change and therefore they can attend school and sport like everyone else, not missing important lessons or events.
In rural prisons in Zambia, women spend their period with a chitenge (cloth) wrapped around them while they sit in a corner waiting for their period to finish. This must be incredibly humiliating and frustrating. If Alice and her team can introduce the cup to these women with some kind of funding then she feels that they would be giving these women some of their dignity back.
Alice’s vision is for every women of menstrual age in Zambia, to have access to the Talula cup.