Aussie's in Nepal - A visit to ICA'S Women and Children's Learning Center

 We are students studying social work from
Australia. Our names are Sarah and Kaitlyn :) We were lucky enough to visit the Women and Children’s Learning Center in Changunarayan a couple of weeks ago. The center was built in partnership with ICA Japan and is designed to be a place where women and children can come for training, education and recreation. After a scenic drive through Kathmandu valley we were greeted by a crowd of excited children and thrown into a session of furious beading and necklace making. We had a lovely time playing with the children at the center. Together we played energetic games of tag, drawing and reading. While we were at the center the staffs were working on building a library for children and teens. This library will mean that visitors to the center will be able to borrow books to read, as well as be read too at the center, in both English and Nepalese. One of the exciting projects being run through the Women and Children’s Learning Center is the production of low cost sanitary napkins. The aims of this program are two-fold. Access to affordable sanitary napkins can be difficult for many women and this program aims to increase accessibly for women. This program also aims to build women’s economic empowerment, giving women access to industry through the production and sale of the sanitary napkins, called “Surakhshya Pads”. We were lucky to have a tour of the workshop where the pads were made. After visiting the women and children’s learning center, we also visited an economic empowerment project for women nearby that makes Champak Candy - yum! This project offer training for women to produce the candy and sells it in nearby shops. Overall, it was a lovely day meeting friendly people!

Period Blurb Thing

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am from Australia. Currently I am working as an intern in an NGO named ICA Nepal. Menstruation Hygiene Management Awareness Program is one of the core projects of ICA Nepal. While working as an intern I went to different schools and communities and came cross the different case stories then I found that the Nepalese perception on Menstruation is totally different from the Aussie’s.
In Australia periods are still something we keep private. I feel comfortable talking about periods with my close girl friends but I would not talk to many men about it. In high school we would tease boys by showing them a clean tampon and watch them run away in fear, so we still have away to go in reducing the stigma of periods and menstruation. Periods can be hard, you feel drained, crampy and a bit ick and it would be nice if people could more understand of a natural part of life rather than grossed out and uncomfortable. Half of the world gets them! 
While I was writing I was thinking about how lucky I am that in Australia people just think periods are gross, while in Nepal, people are ostracized when they have their periods and can even die from being forced to follow Chaupadi while they are menstruating.  In Australia we have sanitary bins in all our public toilets, pads and tampons are easy to get and are sometimes even handed out for free at our university. It sucks to see how difficult it is for women here and I hope that with projects like this one, periods can become much easier for everyone.

So, let’s talk about periods!

A Sense of Freedom

                                  Menstrual Hygiene Management: A sense of freedom

I, Deepa Lama, a young girl of Kathmandu, educated and free. I believe access to information regarding to healthy body hygiene and sanitation is something that gives women a sense of Freedom.  Since last few months, I have been working on Menstruation Hygiene Management Program carried out ICA Nepal. Initially, I was reluctant that would I be able to educate or inform the girls on need of proper menstruation hygiene management or would girls be open to this tabooed subject.
It has been an incredible experience to have conversation with girls among ourselves, with resource persons. When we were working with young school girls I thought it will very challenging to make them understand about menstruation as most of them were very young. But for our surprise girls were very smart and well educated about menstruation and hygiene. No one was shy to share about their first experience of period and challenges they face during periods. They were very attentive during presentation and group work which made us feel that they already feel responsible toward their body. The knowledge and information have made them powerful and free. At their age I was not as confident as they are about menstruation and hygiene management. When we asked them about entering kitchen during periods all of them said they do go and even help their mom. One of the girl said that she even hug her dad during her period and she think it’s normal. She said it’s a natural process, there’s nothing to be feel ashamed of. Their confidence and level of understanding at this age totally amazed me.
Menstrual Hygiene Management program is an action implemented with an objective to aware girls to overcome their shyness about physical changes.  Many adolescent girls lack information on their reproductive health which may lead to ignorance and causes severe health problems eventually.  Menstrual health problems become worst when taboos related with it remains there. Even in the city like Kathmandu where most of the people are educated, these superstitious practices prevail. So to fulfill this need, we carried Menstrual Hygiene Management Awareness Program because healthy body and sanitation is something that gives women a sense of freedom.
ICA Nepal is carrying out Menstruation Hygiene Management Awareness Program across the country. We seek your support for this. Please lend your support at…/support-nepali-girls/
This program overall went very well and I learned a lot from those girls who participated.


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