19-year-old Ziyaan Virji's journey to success hasn't been an easy one. In 2017, he went through a traumatic health experience, which turned into a mental health crisis that left him hospitalized. "After gaining consciousness, I realized that I could've never recovered and almost lost my life," he said.
"This [experience] made me reflect on my purpose and led me to realize I was put into this world to make a difference."
Ziyaan said going through such a difficult time shaped the person he is today. From this point, he was motivated to make a difference in other people's lives. “This [experience] made me reflect on my purpose and led me to realize I was put into this world to make a difference and leave a legacy of impact," he recalled.
While scrolling through Facebook one day, Ziyaan came across an Al Jazeera documentary called India's Menstruation Man. His viewing started a conversation between him and his mother about the menstrual cycle that sparked his interest in creating a menstrual inequities solution. “I found out when she was small, similar to 500 million menstruators around the world, she had no access to proper menstrual hygiene,” Ziyaan said.
Today, Ziyaan is the Founder of For The Menstruator, a global initiative that aims to create a world of menstrual equity. Since its founding, Ziyaan and his team have accomplished their goal of providing menstrual products to over 8500 menstruators and have used various platforms to break the stigma associated with menstruation. Ziyaan prioritizes calling everyone to take action because he believes that menstruation isn't just a women's issue but also a human issue. “I believe access to menstrual hygiene should be a basic need, and I acknowledge that menstruation is normal, and none of us would even be alive if it weren’t for the menstrual cycle,” he said.
"I acknowledge that menstruation is normal, and none of us would even be alive if it weren’t for the menstrual cycle.”
Ziyaan was honored for his work in Healthcare through The ConversationaLIST, our annual honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact. “I use my voice for good by talking and advocating for menstrual equity and freedom, empowering menstruators around the world, collaborating with organizations in the menstrual space, and using my platforms to shatter the stigmas and taboos surrounding menstruation,” he said.
Ziyaan wants to encourage Gen Z’ers who haven't found their voice yet to seek out their purpose and find a way to share it with others. “It is so important to actively and intentionally find our voice and purpose within ourselves and then share it with others in our communities, cities, countries, and the world,” he said.
Looking ahead to the future, Ziyaan said his life mission is to serve and impact 10 million lives. He hopes For The Menstruator will be well on its way to helping over 500,000 menstruators.
Ziyaan resonates with The Conversationalist’s mission because he wants to empower young people to pursue their purpose. “I am excited to be part of The Conversationalist community because it is made up of such a diverse and welcoming group of people that are willing to learn and grow together,” he said.
For Ziyaan, a unified world is one in which everyone is working towards their purpose and has access to basic needs. “Gen Z can build a unified world by leveraging our platforms such as technology and social media to make a difference and empower others,” he said. “We need to document and share our journeys, share resources and ideas, and use our privilege to bring up others with us.”
“Have an open mind, don't just hear but also listen and try put yourself in their shoes.”
To break open his echo chamber, Ziyaan sparks conversation with new people. “Always be an effective listener and model empathy,” he said. “Have an open mind, don't just hear but also listen and try put yourself in their shoes.”