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 https://www.globalgiving.org/micropro…/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.

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


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