I am Ujali Thapa from Khaptad Chhanna, Bajhang. I am 31 years old and I am one of the members of the project’s mothers' group. We participate in monthly meetings where we can support one another and develop new skills.
Women in our community are often busy doing household chores like cooking and taking care of the animals. We never get a chance to participate in any training or meetings, but this project gives us the opportunity to take part in such activities!
I have attended women’s leadership training and women’s community meetings, where different issues like menstruation hygiene, sexual and reproductive health and gender equity were addressed. I feel like I have learnt so much!
I believe that this project has come to empower women and girls. One day, all women will be empowered and independent.
We receive sanitary pads from this project. The Government distributes free sanitary pads to schoolgirls, but they do not distribute them to women in the local areas. This project heard our problem and offers free hygienic pads to us. They also taught us how to wear a pad, so we wear them properly and hygienically.
The women in the community and I are very happy with this project. I have started wearing sanitary pads and feel more confident in doing so since the training sessions.
Thanks to your support women like Ujali Thapa can gain more independence and become part of a thriving women’s community.
Meet Jeeya Bastakoti! She is a member of one of our women’s groups.
Jeeya says that women like her are often unable to attend training or meetings due to their domestic chores. During menstruation, they can experience increased isolation, due to a practice in Nepal called Chhaupadi.
Thanks to the advocacy work in her community, Jeeya has been able to meet monthly with other women where they are trained on gender equality and safe menstruation practices. She shares what a vital and encouraging space this has been for both herself and many others.
Access to sanitary products is limited in her village, so they are provided with them monthly during the group sessions. Jeeya says this gives her more freedom and independence.
Thanks to you, more women can belong to a wider community of women, celebrate their independence and be free from period poverty.
My name is Anuradha, one of the group leaders of the girls’ club. I am studying in Grade 9 at Kada Bhawani Secondary School, Khaptad Chhededaha-1, Bajura.
Every month, a staff member of the Garima Project comes to our school and conducts a monthly girls’ club meeting. We discuss different issues like menstrual hygiene and management, the importance of nutrition, mental health issues and so on. We are gaining lots of knowledge through different games and presentations. We even pass this knowledge on to other students in our school.
Menstruating girls and women must go to a nearby river to take a bath and clean and wash the clothes they use. But this project has taught me many things. So, I do not practice the harmful things I previously encouraged. I share the toilet and the water tap with other people, that are also using them regularly [something normally banned during menstruation]. Many people in our villages are against me for what I am doing. But I believe that this project will change their belief, attitude and practices. Menstruating girls and women are not permitted to eat milk or curd, but I have started to eat them and my family members do not restrict me from having them.
Activities are held in our school every month with the support of this project. This has helped us to participate in skill-building activities like quiz contests, debates and speeches. In previous times, very few girls used to participate in such activities but now many girls are being active and enjoying the regular meetings with girls and women in support of each other.
We have also made a sanitary pad disposal unit in our villages which this project taught us how to do so. Girls and women used to throw used pads in the jungle and river. So, we girls made this to manage the used sanitary pad in the community more effectively.
Gandhali is a mother of four children living a challenging life in a rural village in Bajura. Her husband travels to India to work as a labor migrant. He must work away for six months every year, meaning Gandhali is often alone with her children. Whilst his earnings go towards their children’s education, food, and clothes, it is barely enough to sustain them. Gandhali has a small patch of land to grow grains and vegetables, she also keeps some goats and buffalos. She wants to generate more income for her family by selling the produce. Sadly, due to the discrimination of the local community, no one buys milk or vegetables from her house, as she is a Dalit.
Gandhali says, “My father and forefathers spent life here being suppressed by some members of the upper cast. We are also living in the same way because there is no place us to go”.
Struggling with isolation, Gandhali was relieved when a new neighbour moved in. Little did she know that they were about to change her life!
She discovered that her neighbour was a social mobiliser of Green Tara Nepal- our partner’s project. She encouraged Gandhali to set up a women’s group, giving her a boost of confidence and determination Gandhali needed. In a small amount of time, a women’s group were flourishing and growing by the day, this empowered Gandhali to realise her potential and influence in a community.
“All the women of this village gather every month to learn more about menstrual health, gender, social discrimination, and other current issues. The social mobiliser also belongs to a Dalit cast so I am much attached to her…I feel that meeting her was a blessing” Gandhali shares.
Thanks to the support of the women’s group, Gandhali no longer feels alone. She now has a community of women- who nurture and uplift her! She feels her voice is not only heard but valued. She is even speaking to community leaders about how to develop this project- encouraging more women and people who menstruate, to get involved and feel a vital part of something incredible.
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