In remote hills of western Nepal, girls are often isolated in cattle sheds or small huts each month during their periods, as part of a cultural practice called chhaupadi. Not only do girls face embarrassment over menstruation, but they often are exposed to real danger -- from extreme weather, smoke inhalation and attacks. Days for Girls is changing that narrative from one of shame to celebration. A local training team of Nepali girls and women are leading the charge.
The cultural practice of chhaupadi, based on Hindu tradition, has been around for centuries, and communities are reluctant to shift away from strongly-held beliefs relating to menstruation. As a result, girls miss out on opportunities each month, often missing school to participate in chhaupadi, facing health risks due to the extreme isolation they experience while in the huts, and lacking the knowledge that they need to care for their bodies.
Days for Girls is building pathways for opportunity in Nepal with a locally led team. Through inter-generational circles that facilitate discussions on positive coming of age practices, women's health curriculum, awareness campaigns, & the distribution of DfG Kits (washable pads that last 3 yrs), we are bringing everyone together to celebrate the beauty of becoming a woman. Girls & women are creating access to menstrual solutions & empowering each other.
Shifting the dialogue about deeply ingrained cultural beliefs surrounding menstruation is a challenging process, & we're making progress. Local leadership has stepped forward to steward programs, including women's circles that facilitate community-led discussions about rites of passage rituals. Our local team will continue to distribute DfG Kits, facilitate & support the formation of student & adult ambassadors, support the formation of new girl/women-led co-ops & lead awareness campaigns.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).