Chhaupadi, the traditional act of banishing women (during their periods) from houses, schools, etc. is still widely practiced. Nepalese people lack the adequate knowledge and information regarding the need to maintain menstrual hygiene, which may lead to serious reproductive health issues. Our project has a clear goal. We will provide the production of low cost pads and transformational hygiene education to 5000 young women.
For all girls, a period is a frightening experience, but in some Nepalese communities it is also something to be ashamed of. Studies have shown that more than 40% of Nepalese girls are either afraid or confused during their "menarche" (first period) and more than 15% don't even want to have it. When on their menstruation, girls/women are banished away from their homes, which puts them at risk of rape, snakebite, hypothermia, severe bleeding, and even malnutrition.
Educating both genders about the experience of menstruation through workshops at schools should allow girls to feel comfortable during this time and help them stay safe both at their homes and schools. This normalization of the natural processes of their bodies would eventually lead to a more tolerant attitude towards menstruation. Facilitating the manufacture and access to pads will help them adopt new healthier customs. We want to reach 45 schools and 5000 young women by April 1, 2019.
It is our intention to positively influence the way Nepalese society views women. Access to menstrual hygiene products is the first step for accurate health education, so young women can become able to participate in all aspects of society. Acknowledging their period rights and fighting for them is the way for girls to be empowered to attend schools full time, to have hobbies, and to live without shame. To think boldly!
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