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Shattering the Shame

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

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.

DfG Trainer Lila smiles with training participants
DfG Trainer Lila smiles with training participants

4. That is the number of girls and women that have died in 2019 as a direct result of the chhaupadi practice in Nepal, in which menstruating girls are isolated in small huts (The Guardian). Although this tradition is illegal in Nepal, it is still widely practiced, in varying forms, throughout the country. Kalikot District is a rural, mountainous area of Nepal with many beautiful and strong traditions. Unfortunately, it is also a district where chhaupadi is still commonplace. Over the past two years, Days for Girls has been working alongside Kalikot families to provide fact-based women’s health education, quality washable pads (DfG Kits), and to invite conversation around traditional menstrual health practices.

 In 2019, the Days for Girls Nepal team, in partnership with the Oda Foundation, have set out to evaluate the response to this intervention, and to expand the reach to more areas within the district. In January, our local leaders convened to begin work on 2019’s audacious goals. They met with past participants of DfG’s programming, local government leaders, school headmasters, and community members. They discussed impact, needs, goals, schedules, and the important consideration of geographical and weather related restrictions. After a series of productive planning workshops, the team began their trek out to Mahabai for the initial training and distributions. The response was overwhelming. There were thoughtful discussions, active engagement, and smiles upon smiles to close each day.

The team has a large task ahead of them, with a goal to more than double the impact of 2018. With their passion and your support, there is nothing to stand in their way! Together, we can support healthy practices during menstruation, and remove barriers that are harming girls and women. Thank you for your important part in making this possible!

As 2018 comes to a close, we take pause to embrace what was accomplished this year, and to set our eyes on what lies ahead. With your support, Days for Girls was able to reach more than 5,700 women and girls with DfG Kits and women's health education in Kalikot District. More than 83 events were held throughout the district to teach women's health, faciliate discussions around positive coming of age practices, and bring generations together to celebrate the beauty in menstrual health! With a challenging terrain that often requires hours by foot, the training team of Days for Girls Nepal went the extra mile to ensure that your contribution made a meaningful and lasting impact.

And there are no signs of slowing down. In 2019, Days for Girls Nepal and Days for Girls International are excited to work more closely with a local Kalikot-based organization, the Oda Foundation, to nearly triple our impact. Yes, you read that right! The team is already hard at work preparing follow up evaluation surveys for those who received initial distributions and education, as well as coordinating with local communities to set plans in motion for more girls and women reached in the coming year. It's an audacious goal, but with your support and the tireless dedication of trainers in Kalikot district, we can do this!

Singing about menstruation in Kalikot
Singing about menstruation in Kalikot

Singing songs. Hosting debates. Leading interactive quizzes. These are just a few of the creative ways the DfG Nepal team has dreamt up to help shatter stigmas around menstruation in rural Nepal. The traditional practice of Chhaupadi — where girls and women are isolated in small huts during menstruation — continues on in Kalikot district despite being illegal on a national level. While many families recognize the risks of this practice, changing long-held and socially normal practices is not an easy feat.

That’s why the local women leading this charge are perfectly positioned to implement the program. They are using other beautiful cultural practices, such as deudas (traditional songs) to introduce taboo topics around menstruation, and spark vibrant discussions.

Thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community, The Oda Foundation, and other committed partners, the DfG Nepal team has been able to reach more than 3,923 girls and women so far, and they show no signs of slowing down! And those are just the women and girls that are directly involved in programming. Because so many of their interventions are open to the public, such as the girls’ debate competition, they have been able to indirectly impact more than 2,500 community members. In a place where menstruation has been so silent that women must be banished from their daily lives, the sweet words and melodies of the menstruation-themed deudas are finally shattering through!

Lila leads a focus group with women in Siuna
Lila leads a focus group with women in Siuna

“It is the right of women all over the globe to be allowed to integrate into their society. In order to change this, it is important to change the practice of chhaupadi,” states Lila, the Days for Girls Kalikot Project Manager as she  smiles proudly.

At the core of the Shattering the Shame Project supported by you is an emphasis on developing local leadership. Leaders like Lila who, together with her strong team of eight local women, are working to change the narrative about menstruation. Through women’s circles, health training, community awareness campaigns, and meetings with local leaders, the Kalikot Trainers are shifting the way their community sees menstruation.

This has not been an easy jog.  The Kalikot Trainers hike DfG Kits into some of the most remote hills of mid-Western Nepal, to reach communities that are often left behind and forgotten. For many women and girls, the Kalikot Trainers present the first formal training on menstrual and reproductive health that their community has ever seen. During follow-up visits this spring, women voiced their gratitude to the local leaders and your support. They told stories about being able to stay in school during menstruation, start conversations with their families about menstruation and chhaupadi, and newfound feelings of pride about being female.

Shukla, a DfG Trainer from Sipkhana, started with the Shattering the Shame Project early on and over the course of her time with Days for Girls, she has transformed into a confident and powerful leader in her community.

“Days for Girls have brought a lot of changes in my life…. health training and kit distribution for menstruation management can bring a huge change in rural places like ours. I want to thank Days for Girls because they have given me this opportunity to work as trainer in very young age, which I can utilize all my life.”

Thanks to your support, the Shattering the Shame Project will be able to mobilize local leaders to change the narrative about menstruation from shame to celebration. These local leaders are ready to charge ahead. And we can’t wait to see what they accomplish!

A woman smiles during a Women
A woman smiles during a Women's Circle in Sipkhana

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Organization Information

Days for Girls International

Location: Bellingham, WA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Libby Daghlian
Bellingham, WA United States
$38,533 raised of $75,000 goal
 
1,134 donations
$36,467 to go
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