July 11, 2018

SUSI 2015 Alum Wasma Imran is Breaking Taboos in Pakistan

“Sometimes I think I did not know myself enough before this exchange. I challenged myself and pushed my limits every day of the program, and it was all worth it because I fully understood then what I was capable of.”

Starting one of the most successful and widely supported menstrual health awareness programs in Pakistan was not what Wasma Imran thought she would be doing when she left the United States in 2015.

Yet three years later, Imran finds herself pulling from her Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) experience on Social Entrepreneurship held at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in her new role as co-founder of Recircle Cup Enterprise, the first registered menstrual cup company in Pakistan.

“With Recircle I do not only sell menstrual cups, but I hope to shatter the stigma attached with a woman’s period and create spaces for open discussions in Pakistan.”

Wasma credits the SUSI program for fostering confidence and inspiring her work to create open and safe spaces to discuss menstrual health. “I definitely owe SUSI a lot for the courage it instilled in me to speak my mind, to do things no matter how unconventional they may seem.”

“Looking back, I remember myself as a 21 year old- eager to explore the world but scared to be on her own. I have grown immensely in the last three years owing a great deal to that one summer spent in the U.S..

When asked what was most memorable about her time in the United States, Imran replied, “Being on my own was perhaps the most memorable for me. I worked out subways, worked out dining options and explored places on my own and I was proud of myself. That feeling of knowing I can depend on my self is so dear to me.”

Wasma Imran’s efforts with Recircle Cup have gained national and international recognition with coverage from BBC UK, Women in the World, and many other organizations. To learn more about SUSI and other Department of State programs, check out our Facebook @Study of the U.S. Institutes and Twitter @StudyoftheUS.