Millen Happiness Magese is a world-renowned fashion model and humble humanitarian. When she’s not prowling runways in Europe, the United States, Asia and Africa, the former Miss Tanzania can often be found giving her time, talents, and energy to 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. She has also established the Millen Magese foundation to empower women and girls of Tanzania.
As a model, Magese is currently signed with Ford Models in New York, NY and Ice Model Management in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has been featured on numerous magazine covers in collaboration with many of the world’s top designers and brands including Ralph Lauren, Karen Millen, Alphadi, African Mosiaque, David Tlale, Gavin Rajah, Sun Goddess, Stoned Cherrie, Thula Sindi , Kluk CGDT, Suzanne Heynes, Heni, Clive, Laquan Smith, Tarun Talhian, Priscilla, Deola Segoe, Tiffany Amber, Korto Momulu just to name few. She has appeared on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Ladybrielle, JCK (NY), Uzuri, Bang, and Sawubona magazines and has been the subject of editorial features in Essence, True Love, Cosmopolitan, Elle, O Magazine, Marie Clare, Style, Glamour, and Wanted.
Millen’s work has taken her all over the world, to countries including Milan, Hong Kong, Germany, Norway, China, New York, Paris, Spain, India, London and most of the African continent. Her passion to give back to her home country Tanzania inspired her to bring her work back home and start the Millen Magese Foundation. Millen’s personal struggle with endometriosis motivated her to begin the foundation, which strives to promote gender equality and empower women and girls in Tanzania through improving access to education and reproductive health services.
Beyond all of her professional talent and subsequent accomplishments, helping others has always been what Millen Magese enjoys the most. Millen suffered in silence about her struggle with endometriosis until 2014, when she began to speak out and advocate for the improvement of menstrual health care for women and girls in all of Africa. She 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, as Millen 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. Furthermore, she advocates for the pursuit of gender equality through the improvement of education for women and girls and reproductive health services. The pain Millen faced as a young girl during her menstruation would cause her to miss an average of 8 days of school each month. She hopes that no other girl will feel her pain and go through obstacles to receive an education that will allow her to achieve success.
When asked what her inspiration was to start the Millen Magese Foundation she stated, “giving back is one of my favorite things to do because it comes straight from my heart and I feel fulfilled when am able to help others who are less fortunate than myself. Although I normally don’t talk about it, I think it’s more important to show it with actions and not just with words.”
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 approx. 176 million women who suffer from endometriosis 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 efforts to make change in communities they care for. For Millen, that was her home country Tanzania. Her efforts include:
• Building schools in the Mtwara region of Tanzania and outside. These schools were equipped with water wells and school desks.
• The face of social media campaign #ManyFacesOfEndo which aimed to break the silence on the struggles of endometriosis and bring awareness so a cure can be sought for.
• Joined the international community in by leading a march in Pretoria, South Africa during Global Endometriosis Awareness Month.
Millen Magese’s 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, as she believes a good education is the key to life.
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