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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
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame
Shattering the Shame

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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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!

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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!

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Organization Information

Days for Girls International

Location: Bellingham, WA - USA
Project Leader:
Libby Daghlian
Bellingham, WA United States
$45,911 raised of $75,000 goal
1,299 donations
$29,089 to go
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