Thank you EFL and Promis Qualify, Promis AS for providing me an opportunity to work in the field of Women’s health specially in Far West. As I am also a woman, this project was very close to my heart. It was a very long and tiring journey but unforgettable memories.
I went to 2 schools (Shree Annapurna Secondary School and Shree kalika Secondary School) Total amount of 500 girls received the freedom kits ( sanitary pads, underwear, soap )
Chhaupadi system (the women are kept out of house in 7 days during the menstruation time) is a social tradition of the Far west people in Nepal. The women considered as an impure and deprived in any occasion during their period which is being a burning issue of this area.
Many organizations and even government are trying to remove this system. This could not take an action due to the superstition has been rooted in the mentality of the local people which is being helped to descending women health in far west.
I had given classes about importance of Female health and Menstruation. I taught them how to be sanitizing our body. Many girls were super shy to talking about their periods. Most of them are using piece of clothes. I was surprised to know that most of the girls had never ever seen any kind of menstruation pads. According to them they never talk about even their first periods with their mothers or friends. I was curious how they managed their first period, as my question one of teacher said they know automatically. It made me upset when they said, they do not want to go away from home during periods but it’s their compelled.
Girls have shared their feeling about it is more difficult in monsoon and winter time because it is very cold in winter and they have to sleep on floor and there is not enough warm clothes provided. In monsoon, it’s too much rain, sometime our clothes are not dry and we have sleepless nights. They have to stay away at least 7 days from home during periods. They are not allowed to walk front of houses and not even touch the wall of houses.
When I asked about their menstruation huts (A shed where women go to stay while in period time), most of them said the hut is a very small place where they cannot stretch their body properly which they have to share with 4 or 5 girls during the periods. Every girl thinks period is dirty and bad for them, because they have to spend 7 days every month in hut.
According to female teachers, if they talk about their time, it was worse. It’s still not good but we can see changes. They do not think it will be completely removed from community but hoping women will stay in better way in coming days.
I think from my view, it will take quite long time to bring change but it will be changed of course sooner or later.
Although the circumstances are remained, the girls are really happy to get reusable pads. I hope their mentality will be changed through hygiene class and distribution program. They are thankful to all of you who made this possible.