Diagnosed with endometriosis at the tender age of 25, unsure if she would ever carry a child and fighting tooth and nail to bear one, Millen Magese who suffered in silence about her personal struggle with endometriosis until 2014 is promoting gender equality, empowering women as well as improving the access to education and reproductive health services of a lot of women and girls in Tanzania.
Millen Magese is a world-renowned fashion model and humble humanitarian. When she’s not modeling in Europe, the United States, Asia and Africa, the former Miss Tanzania is making a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate through her significant contributions to charities such as the Tanzania Education Trust, African Rainforest Conservancy, and the MacDella Cooper Foundation and the Millen Magese foundation.
As an advocate for the improvement of menstrual health care for women and girls in all of Africa, Millen believes the taboo on menstruation needs to be eliminated in all of Africa but especially Tanzania. To pursue this goal, she has advocated for the reform of the Tanzania healthcare system to improve women’s health care and specifically reproductive health. She has seen success through her advocacy, has initiated training programs to better equip Tanzanian doctors with education on endometriosis and resources to make a timely diagnosis of women’s suffering with endometriosis.
On dealing with endometriosis, Millen as a young girl would miss an average of 8 days of school each month. In an interview with ‘Genevieve Magazine’, she said “there is only one word to describe endometriosis, NIGHTMARE! You hardly have a life. You can’t plan anything because of the pain that never goes away.”
Millen later had her son in 2018 through IVF “I had lost several other pregnancies…I didn’t think I could survive another loss” – and in hopes that no other girl will feel her pain and go through obstacles to receive an education that will allow her to achieve success, Millen has invested extensive resources into supporting global causes for the diagnosis, treatment and education around endometriosis in order to begin an awareness campaign for the approximately 176 million women who suffer from it worldwide. In addition, she has pioneered a movement in her native, Tanzania to promote education for doctors to diagnose the condition more accurately.
In 2015, Millen was honored as the first recipient of the BET International Global Good award. This award was created to honor celebrities who are making effort to make change in communities they care for.
Her mission is to further causes that benefit women, children, and primary education in Tanzania and eventually Africa at large by inspiring women to share their stories. Her long-term plan is to build schools for children in rural areas, ensuring that women and girls have access to education and reproductive health.
More on Millen here