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.

“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.


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