“Surakshya Pads” – ICA Nepal's initiative on Menstrual hygiene and women empowerment

Preeti Tamang, age 34 is a local woman of Changunarayan who stayed at home and ran her handmade crafts business on a personal level. She was always interested to work on her own and be independent. However, insufficient education and job opportunity were causing hindrances to her dreams. She had got the training on making teddy bears and flowers in the village; however, they were not sufficient for her sustainable income. Then, on 2015, ICA Nepal, an organization who had constructed the Women’s and Children Learning Center in Changunarayan back in 2002, started its renovation post earthquake and also organized various trainings. In the course of participating in one of those trainings, Preeti happened to join the training on making low cost sanitary napkins in the village. A two day training was organized where trainers explained on how to use the machine and prepare the sanitary pads. Belonging to a community where menstruation was talked about silently only among women, Preeti felt amazing to be in a group where trainers were male and talking about it quite openly. Then, out of 10 women who received the training, she was one of the finest makers who started producing the napkins later. Now, along with Preeti, 4 other women are producing the “Surakhshya Pads” where they are earning 3000/- t0 4000/- per month in the initial stage. Preeti believes when the product hits the market, they are sure to earn more.

Sanitary napkins is one of the basic Menstruation Management Material which is however costly and haven’t reached to rural areas much. Rural women still use cloth pieces, which are reusable however, in lack of proper hygiene awareness, are prone to several health risks. Therefore, “Surakhsya Pads Uddhyog” is one of such enterprise that not only empowers women financially by providing them the employment and skills but also addresses one of the most challenging issue of time – Menstrual Hygiene Management.

Lack of knowledge on menstrual hygiene and severe social restrictions to perform healthy practices have kept women of Nepal constantly at health risks. While there are rise in use of customized cotton pads, women are still using the old rags being more prone to diseases. Some of them don’t know about the use of pads where some can’t afford the expensive sanitary napkins. In Rural area, girls are compelled to miss school during their periods. Even in Urban area female have to suffer as the toilets aren’t female friendly and lack of sanitation facilities.

During period women and girls need extra care and hygiene. The poor menstrual hygiene can have unpleasant impact on the psycho-social wellbeing of women and girls (e.g. stress levels, fear and embarrassment, social exclusion and risk their health during menstruation). The lack of proper washing facilities and sanitary surrounding are creating many challenges which women keep mostly to themselves. The proper education on maintaining menstrual hygiene, timely changing sanitary pads, ways to properly dispose the pads should also be given parallelly to develop menstrual health and hygiene holistically among women.

Considering these problems ICA Japan and ICA Nepal has started a new initiation towards Menstrual Hygiene Management. In support of ICA Japan and ICA Nepal Local woman groups of Changunarayan are producing low-cost disposable sanitary napkins called “Surakshya Pads”
The local women from the Changunarayan community have begun using the Surakhshya Pads and they are commenting it very comfortable and leakage free which have enhanced their confidence and self esteem. With this, the talk on menstrual hygiene has started. Women have started breaking their hesitation and treating menstruation as a normal biological process.  ICA Nepal believes this is the approach that we require in order to break the long rooted traditions and taboo regarding menstruation.

Where it all began!

To Everyone, (I am quite awkward at social gathering to introduce myself and let me tell you it's neither easier on the internet.) Irony! I believe, for I have invested most of time on Instagram writing about my personal experiences. I suppose we are all flawed and I don't claim to be out of the extra-ordinary. Okay! Now that we have move past that awful introduction, I hope you will find my strange stories oddly familiar. With this foolish hope, I leave today's blog with my Instagram post about my first novel. This is my story about how I fell in love with reading. 

- +Dhruba Yonzon 

The first novel that I remember ever reading of a proper nature was “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. It was 10 years ago and I was 11 years old. I had saved enough money to buy a novel. (Here, I’d like to thank my best friend @bhaguri for buying lunch for both of us.) That day, I walked 15 minutes after school to a local bookstore shoved between two giant supermarkets on either side. It was small and insignificant, almost invisible to a passerby. But not to me. For me, it held magic beyond imagination. To give you context, I never had anyone read stories to me and my school’s library only had “Kopila” which I believed were not proper literatures. And I knew, I was meant for something more. I knew even then, that I wanted to live in libraries full of stories that I had only heard about till then. So, I went to the bookstore and asked for a story. (It wasn’t big enough for one to go in browse for yourself.) Yet, it held the books with pride in its worn-out selves. The owner kindly asked me which one. I hadn’t thought about that part! My eyes wondered from one book to another and couldn’t believe that a store such small had that many selections. My eyes fell upon Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; however, I didn’t buy it that time. (Right now, my 21-year-old self, smiles over that decision. If only you knew little one.) I went to the shop with few papers in my pocket, I returned with 615 pages and more much. It was a great deal! I read “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and I was ever sure that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. To read! And I promised myself that day, when I had enough money. I’d buy the entire shop. This led to save for money and make my visits frequent. I got the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone next time I made such journey and we all know how that went. So, when people ask me, why do I read? I want you to know that I don’t have a definite answer. But when people say, we only have one life to live; I plan on buying them a book.
A post shared by Dhruba Yonzon (@picturepisces) on

Nepal's Young People get enlisted in Forbes 30Under30 - ForbesU30Asia

Screenshot from Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia website 
It's always a pride moment for Nepal and Nepalese when one gets featured in an International Media. On the midst of welcoming New Year 2074, Nepal welcomed and also celebrated the good news of young Nepalese being enlisted on +Forbes 2017 “30 Under 30 Asia” list. Ones from Nepal are included under 30 honorees under different categories in total 300 honorees selected from 1,200 submissions/ nominations by a panel of expert judges. The honorees were selected on the basis of -  leadership and disruption in their field; entrepreneurial mind-set and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century. Sources share that Nepal's Honorees will also join the Forbes' Second Annual “Under 30 Summit Asia” to Be Held in Manila, the Philippines on July 25, 2017. You can follow the social media trends on #ForbesU30Asia

On the recent release made to announce the 300 Honorees - Rana Wehbe, Senior Digital Editor, Asia at Forbes Media, said:
“This year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list highlights the diversity of talent in this vast region, with 300 impressive young entrepreneurs from all walks of life pushing the boundaries of innovation. It’s fascinating to see how these millennials are using technology to disrupt their industries, empower their communities and overcome cultural barriers. Notably, this year’s list showcases a number of women in Asia who are advocates for social change and are defying stereotypes and prejudice to set a positive example for what women in this part of the world can achieve.”
Coming back to 5 Nepal's Honorees - 

Under Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia : Retail and E-commerce, +Sabin Bhandari and Aashish Acharya, Co-Founders of WhiteSpace were enlisted among others selected by expert panel of judges Allan Zeman - Chairman, Lan Kwai Fong Group; Hiroshi Mikitani - CEO, Rakuten and Jennifer Woo - CEO, Lane Crawford Joyce Group

+Forbes share on the profile as - 

Photo - WhiteSpace Profile on Forbes website
The duo came up with their idea for an online apparel store -- the first of its kind in Nepal -- in 2012 while in college. Threadpaints quickly established itself as a trendy marketplace selling everything from t-shirts designed by hip local designers, to shoulder bags, watches and perfumes. And the brand remains true to its roots, raising funds through its 'T-shirts For Relief' campaign to help those affected in the aftermath of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake. WhiteSpace Cofounders, WhiteSpace The duo came up with their idea for an online apparel store -- the first of its kind in Nepal -- in 2012 while in college. Threadpaints quickly established itself as a trendy marketplace selling everything from t-shirts designed by hip local designers, to shoulder bags, watches and perfumes. And the brand remains true to its roots, raising funds through its 'T-shirts For Relief' campaign to help those affected in the aftermath of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Under Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia : Social Entrepreneurs, +Surya Karki from +Diyalo Foundation and +Ravi Kumar & Mia Mitchell from +Code for Nepal were enlisted among others selected by expert panel of judges +Paul Ronalds - CEO, +Save the Children Australia; Solina Chau - Executive Director, +Li Ka Shing Foundation 李嘉誠基金會 and +Vineet Nayar - Founder, +Sampark Foundation.

+Forbes shared on their profile as - 

Photo - Code For Nepal Profile on Forbes Website

Code for Nepal Cofounders, Code for Nepal Husband and wife Kumar and Mitchell cofounded Code for Nepal, an organization aiming to increase digital literacy and use of big data in the country. To that end, they have launched nepalmap.org last year to make data on the country more accessible. Kumar has helped rebuild more than 25 schools in the remote villages of Nepal, similar to the one he comes from, and now serves as a lead digital strategist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Mitchell works on foreign assistance at the White House office of Management and Budget.

Surya Karki Cofounder, Diyalo Foundation Karki is the founder of Nepal's Diyalo Foundation, which provides free education to children living in rural parts of the country. It also works to develop sustainable energy and farming by offering related services and training programs to rural residents. Born in rural Nepal to a single mother, Karki won a national scholarship at the age of eight and is currently working on his master's degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Under Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia : Media, Marketing & Advertising - +Prabhat Ydv Founder of +Explore Gadgets  was enlisted among others selected by expert panel of judges +Caspar Schlickum - CEO, +Wunderman APAC; +Kristie Lu Stout - Anchor, +CNN  and Mark Britt - Cofounder, +iflix.

Yadav's Kathmandu-based company Explore Gadgets began as a YouTube channel in 2012, just after he'd completed his final year of school. The channel introduced his Nepalese audience to the latest technological gadgets, which are often difficult and expensive to access in Nepal. He's the only "YouTuber" in Nepal to receive a Silver Play Button award -- an award for reaching 100,000 subscribers -- from Youtube. The channel now has over 360,000 subscribers.

Blog compiled by +View Your Choice- तपाईको सोचाई हाम्रो रोजाई -  and can be reached at viewyourchoice@gmail.com for positive influencing stories.


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