Feb 26, 2020

3000 thanks by Nepali Girls

Menstruation signals a girl’s entry into womanhood, sexual activity, and reproduction and as such, is a crucial time for adolescent girls to learn about their bodies and their health. Arati, Helpcode Program Manager in Chitwan is telling us that effective solutions to improve menstrual healthcare is still lacking, as evidenced by girls’ lack of knowledge and unhealthy practices. In Nepal, less than half of adolescent girls have adequate knowledge about menstruation, and only one in ten practices good menstrual hygiene. Adolescent girls’ inability to effectively manage menstrual hygiene affects their education, physical health, psychological and emotional well-being, and general quality of life.

Menstruation is a natural process that signals a girl’s entry into womanhood. While it affects around 50% of the global population, discriminatory practices and policies prevail around the world. In Nepal, 8.8 million girls and women face a complex set of challenges relating to menstruation, these challenges are often influenced by deeply entrenched cultural and religious beliefs.

Some of the practical concerns relating to periods are due to lack of access to sanitary pads and poor hygiene in many public schools and communities and the traditional practice of Chhaupadi persists, where girls are separated from the rest of their family and confined to a cow shed during menstruation. Such challenges and beliefs do not only have fatal consequences for girls and women, but can also exclude them from actively participating in their community, education and work.

Thanks to the HAPPY PERIOD intervention, Helpcode was able to support total 3000 sanitary pads to girls in Chitwan in 7 schools. Sanitary pads were provided to schools and Menstruation hygiene awareness was also conducted in the school. Moreover, 120 dignity kits were distributed in Chitwan school adolescents. Dignity kits included underwear, sanitary pads, nail cutter, hair comb, and cloths washing soaps, bathing soaps, hand washing soap, shampoo and towel. A gift by all the globalgiving friends which represents a strong message on the importance of girl’s health and education for all.

Dec 3, 2019

The period is no longer an obstacle for 309 girls

We started Happy Period with an important goal: bringing menstrual kits to 600 girls from Chitwan, a rural area of Nepal.

We are happy of what we have achieved in 6 months (but we will be not satisfied until we have complete our goal).

Thanks to many donations, we have already delivered menstrual hygiene kits to 309 girls from three rural schools in the Chandibhanjyang municipality. Specifically, in the Pamdada School we distributed menstrual kits to 106 girls, in the Chanaute school to 45 girls, in the Mungling School to 158 girls.

Inside the menstrual kits, there are safe, nice, easy to use and long-lasting sanitary pads.

Vulnerable women produce these kits in our sewing workshop in Chitwan: these women can thus emancipate themselves in turn thanks to the profits they make from their sales. In addition to sanitary pads, the kits also include a towel, a shampoo, a nail clipper, underwear, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a hand soap, a bath soap, a laundry soap and a comb.

At the same time, we conducted courses on menstrual hygiene at the Sarbashanti Secondary School and at the Triveni Barah Secondary School that involved groups of mothers, teachers and girls and boys. The course participants discussed the experiences and practices of menstruation management and the general perception of them that they had.

We also organized a special debate contest with 47 girls at the Srabashanti Secondary School. A committee of three teachers selected the winners who better discussed topics about menstruation. The girls talked about issue and facts the learned during our hygiene course:

  • the physical disorders related to the menstruation;
  • the social discrimination against menstruating girls and the problems faced by female students at school during the menstruation;
  • the health problems due to lack of adequate hygiene during menstruation;
  • the impact of traditional health practices on girls' lives;
  • the negative effects that has the use of dirty and wet cloths instead of sanitary napkins, or other unhygienic materials such as dry leaves, ash and cow dung.

Thanks to your invaluable help, many girls from the Chitwan district looking at future with hope. Menstruation is no longer an obstacle to their study and life.

Sep 5, 2019

Even monsoons didn't stop Sheila

In rural areas of Nepal, adolescent girls face strong challenges to complete high school. There is a very high number of girls that got married before the age of 18 and this is one of the reason why 319,000 secondary-school-aged children are out-of-school in Nepal. The lack of separated and working toilets is frequently correlated to higher prevalence of school-related gender harmful practice and increased girl’s dropout rates. Helpcode concentrates is activities in Chitwan Province, where barriers to access education regards the absence of adequate water and sanitation facilities, high rate of bio hazard; remoteness and isolation of the target school; lack of learning materials. The schools are in very poor conditions, with no kitchen, only 65% has electricity, 45% has lighting and the existing toilets are not working or requires deep renovation and water supply. This month floods triggered by incessant monsoon rains in the central part of the country and the focal teachers and principals informed that luckily none of the school infrastructure are affected by flood.

Sheila, Helpcode Education and Health trainer in Chitwan, face every day this challenge. She is visiting the 20 communities where Helpcode’s education program support the access to school to poor children. This month she was collecting data on for the needs of Menstrual Hygiene Management in the secondary schools, in order to provide hygiene material. Sheila provide awareness session to 37 teachers (55% female) on reproductive health issues and prepare the hygiene kit materials.

While visiting the school in Chitwan, Sheila spoke with the adolescent girls who participated in the pilot project, asking for their feedback on the current situation of Hygiene management. Girls face gender discriminatory norms associated to the menstrual cycle and consequent school dropout. In western part of Nepal, taboo and harmful practises still resist, girls are sent to hut, outside their home during menstruation.

Rasmi is a 13 years old student from Musling secondary school. She is very happy to participate to the class, where she is on time and an attentive student. She is able to grasp the concepts early and she helps other children in the class to understand better.

When ask on Mestrual hygiene practise, she report that "Menstruation always resulted in banishment to the cowshed for 5 days every month. It is always acknowledged as the topic of shame and embarrassment. My friend and I almost miss 9-10 days of school every month with a tremendous effect to their education. Sometimes we do not have a proper place where to change as toilets are not working, so we need to go to a tea bar to have the possibility to go to a proper toilet. Changes have taken place only at schools but are yet to come in community level".

Thank you for your support, we want to facilitate Girls Club and improvement of Hygiene Management in school, providing free and safe sanitary pads to the students. None of this would have been possible without you.

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