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Shattering the Shame

by Days for Girls International
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Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
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Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame

Because Periods Don’t Stop for Pandemics, Days for Girls’ Shattering the Shame project is moving forward in Nepal. This is in large part thanks to your continuing financial support for women and girls in hard-hit rural communities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Kathmandu office has received numerous calls for DfG PODs (Personal Objects of Dignity). Our Nepal Enterprises have been able to respond to this need, as well as continuing to create DfG Supreme Kits. Furthermore, our office staff has reached out to our Enterprise leaders to provide data collection and project management training, thus improving their entrepreneurial skills. In doing so, we are coaching future leaders in areas that desperately need menstruation advocacy. 

With recent world-wide travel restrictions, our “Boots on the Ground'' are needed now more than ever! Our capable Nepalese Enterprise leaders are continuing to provide DfG menstrual education and Kit distributions. Your funds have been used by our Kathmandu office to translate our Men Who Know program into Nepali and young Nepalese men are learning how to support the females in their lives and the healthy process of menstruation. Because of you, we are also able to raise awareness around the illegal and destructive practice of relegating women and girls to huts during menstruation, known as chauupadi. DfG remains vigilant in shifting cultural practices to be safe for all girls and women.

With all of the recent global chaos, we thank you for your financial support and commitment to the women and girls of Nepal. And know that now, more than ever, Days for Girls remains committed to our mission to improve the lives of Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.

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Thanks to you, we are making progress in Nepal! Days for Girls’ recent collaboration with the Oda Foundation resulted in 17 new Training of Trainers graduates in the Mahawai and Suva Kalika rural municipalities. These new trainees (ages 19-24) participated in a week-long intensive theory of menstrual health education. Using Days for Girls flip charts, they learned how to address topics including:

  • Average days of bleeding
  • Puberty 
  • Female and male reproductive systems
  • Menstruation process
  • Menstruation calendaring
  • Importance of menstrual hygiene, including proper hand-washing
  • Instructions on care and usage of DfG reusable pads
  • Self-defense
  • How to recognize and avoid human trafficking

Unfortunately, in Nepal, discussions on menstruation are often taboo. These new trainers learned to speak with confidence, boldness, and without shame or embarrassment. They are now prepared to teach girls the joy that comes with knowing that their bodies are healthy, normal, and strong. 

While working in the field, one of the new trainers was confronted by a local faith healer and accused of “spreading nonsense regarding menstruation.” The young trainer reported, “In the past, this would make me feel bad, but having gone through the training I now feel proud. Proud that people know I am spreading education and awareness on menstrual hygiene. I am proud of myself and see myself as a change maker."

Armed with these newly acquired skills, our amazing new DfG Training of Trainers graduates are conducting Ambassador of Women’s Health (AWH) training in their communities. Because of your donation, they are able to give out our beautiful DfG washable pads while using language that emphasizes the beauty of being female. 

While interacting with local girls, these AWH trainers are deconstructing the myth that menstruation is impure and emphasizing that chhaupadi (the dangerous tradition of relegating menstruating females to huts) is unnecessary and inappropriate. 

Thanks in large part to your generous contributions to this project, over a recent three month period of time, nearly 3,500 girls were armed with knowledge and tools to handle their menstruation with dignity. And we are confident this trend will continue to Shatter the Shame in rural Nepal. 

Namaste!

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These four amazing young women are from the Humla District - one of the most isolated and poorest regions of Nepal. The community borders Tibet and is only accessible by aircraft or by motor transport after a 7-day trek. 

In 2001, the Nepalese government recorded the literacy rate of women in the Humla District at 21%. And although not much has changed since that study, one thing has: Thanks to your support, girls are now educated on healthy menstrual practices, given DfG Kits, and empowered to celebrate their periods rather than fear them.  

Living in mud and stone huts on steep hillsides presents a number of challenges with menstrual management. There are no shops that carry menstrual supplies and no means to dispose of them — even if they did have access to disposal pads. This means that they must use unsanitary cloths or stay inside.  

That was the case until the Days for Girls Nepal team arrived. The DfG team taught the girls about their bodies and distributed DfG Kits. The girls were thrilled to share with their mothers and sisters the importance of using clean, washable and beautiful DfG pads and to teach them what a menstrual cycle is! 

These transformational moments are hard to capture in just a few photos, but they are real and tangible. Without your support, none of this would have been possible.  

Thank you for helping shatter the stigmas surrounding menstruation for the next generation of women!

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The Kalikot Ambassadors of Women's Health
The Kalikot Ambassadors of Women's Health

In the district of Kalikot, Nepal where the Shattering the Shame program is operating, the local team of All Stars continue to work tirelessly toward a future where all women and girls have access to menstrual education, DfG products, and ways to redefine traditional practices that support safety and dignity for all.

So far in 2019, the team has distributed more than 7,550 Kits, educating 18 additional local women through Training of Trainer (ToT) workshops involving an intensive 7-day training on empowerment, leadership, personal hygiene, and menstrual health management. These new leaders have passed on the training to local communities, conducting 55 community Ambassador of Women’s Health education sessions, as well as several community festivals to help reduce shame and stigma around menstruation. This brought the total for the past two years to 13,250 women and girls, and counting! In addition, they have held high-level meetings with the government in Nepal four times to ensure that this issue stays front and center. 

The miraculous change in self-esteem that occurs during these week-long trainings is undeniable. The participants include women who were not given the opportunity to pursue school beyond grade school or, in some cases, to pursue school at all. They include women who have never been given the opportunity to talk about such issues in a public sphere, who have never had a ‘safe space’ to discuss their strengths as women and to work through the hardships of being a woman in Nepal. One of the most rewarding facets of the work this year was witnessing shy, fear-ridden participants finish the ToT with a newfound ability to champion being a woman; this, in what has historically been an extraordinarily difficult place to be a woman. 

In this mountainous and beautiful area, where most communities are not reachable by road, where proper healthcare is nearly impossible to come by, and where basic education, let alone healthcare education, is virtually nonexistent, these efforts have been a tremendous feat. Thank YOU for making this possible!

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If there is one thing that will help “shatter the shame” it is boldly stepping up and hosting an art fair on Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28th) in Basamtapur Durbar Square. This creative way to involve school children, (boys and girls) to showcase their art work for all to see was a big hit on this special day thanks to your support!

Too often we see social issues only addressed in formal conferences, lectures or in the media so our Days for Girls Nepal team decided to take it to the streets.  Their grassroots effort gave everyone a place at the table to participate.

We are so thankful for our inspiring leaders of DfG Nepal who are making incredible progress in reaching Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.  

We are also grateful that we were able to host this event and witness the enthusiasm from so many who participated.  Your gifts are truly making a difference.

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Organization Information

Days for Girls International

Location: Mount Vernon, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @daysforgirls
Project Leader:
Erin Hale
Bellingham, WA United States
$50,979 raised of $75,000 goal
 
1,510 donations
$24,021 to go
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