What’s the Problem: Chhaupadi
In Nepal, placing menstruating girls and women in sheds or huts is a centuries-old tradition called chhaupadi.
During their periods, women are considered impure, dirty, contaminated and bad luck. They can’t touch their husbands, other family members, water sources, fruit trees, or cattle, among a host of other things. They may only eat beaten rice and salt.
The belief that menstruation is impure is so deep-seated that families overlook extreme risks involved in the practice.
Extreme temperatures expose them to health problems including pneumonia, diarrhea, chest and respiratory tract infection. Every year 3 or 4 women die during this banishment, because of asphyxiation, hypothermia, snakebites or other wild animal attacks, and nobody knows the true numbers of how many are raped.
The practice is supported by community elders, husbands, mothers-in-law, traditional healers, and priests who have a profound influence in the community. Villagers believe that letting menstruating women inside the family house will infuriate the gods, which will have serious consequences for both families and the entire community.
Our Solution: The Rato Baltin Project, Education and Menstrual Cups
The Rato Baltin Project is a Menstrual Health Management and sexual education program that aims to eradicate this practice. 2019 is our third year working with community health workers, teachers, political leaders and local NGOs to this end. The Project is for girls, boys, women and their communities. We think that education is the only way to change these deeply held beliefs. With participative photography we invite them to speak about their menstruation, with an important part of the project being the distribution of a healthy and environmentally friendly solution: the menstrual cup.
We have already distributed more than 600 menstrual cups to girls in remote villages. Each girl received a cup and training on how to use it. They are also given a metal bucket (baltin) to have clean water and somewhere to boil the cup.
Our goal is to destigmatize menstruation as a normal biological function, reduce the prevalence of chhaupadi, and mitigate its consequences. Through these ends, girls and women are also empowered with the confidence to continue to attend school and be active in public spaces.
From our experience in 2017 and 2018, we perceive a high level of need for the project in more Municipalities in Achham. As such, we will focus on this District during 2019 and endeavour to be active in 6 Municipalities. In every Municipality we will go to 3 villages.
We believe that it is urgent for the project to make “noise” in as many Municipalities as possible. It is through the project being present in Municipalities that menstruation and chhaupadi are discussed within the context of change, and we can gather information as to people’s beliefs. We are confident that our project can assist in averting the death of girls into the future.
Here you can read the 2018 project evaluation : https://beartsy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2018-project-evaluation-EN.pdf
Here you can read the Formal Proposal for 2019 : https://beartsy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2019-project-plan-EN.pdf
The Project cost
The total cost of the project to reach as many women and girls as posible, is 77.368 The amount it costs us to go to each municipality, including the costs we will have regardless of how many municipalities we go to, is 12.895.
As in previous years, we will already have some help. This includes from our Partner ROKPA, as well as some Catalan foundations, and Ruby Cup, who will donate 3000 menstrual cups to our project. However, this is still not enough to cover the total cost of the project and disseminate all cups across the 6 Municipalities. With this Crowdfunding we try to cover the cost of 1 of the 6 municipalities!
Please, help us to help more girls in Nepal. It is a matter of life or death, we assure you.
You can read more about the specifics of the budget breakdown here: https://beartsy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/2019-project-plan-EN.pdf
How You Can Help: Donating, Becoming a Member, Sharing, Volunteering
If you would like to become a regular donor, or you are a company that is interested in being a sponsor, your generosity will be met with regular updates and a company mention (logo) on our web page. Please do contact us at: https://beartsy.org/contact or become a member at https://beartsy.org/become-an-associate
Sharing: Share our page with your friends, on social media, etc.
Volunteering: please contact us at: https://beartsy.org/volunteer
You can make a donation here: https://www.migranodearena.org/en/cause/19616/rato-baltin-2019-nepal-chhaupadi
To all our recurrent donors and those considering becoming donors, if you give a minimum donation of 70 euros (equating to 5 euros per month plus the cost of the crowdfunding platform), you will be, if you want, an associate collaborator. Leave your mail so we can inform you of the results of the project!
Our video for 2019 (English subtitles):
The video we made last year (still up to date):
There are several reasons why we decided to name it the Red Bucket Project (Rato Baltin in Nepalese).
Firstly, because red is a relevant colour in Nepal, it is used very frequently, even in its flag, and is one of the colours most favoured by girls and women.
Secondly, because red is a colour which is related to menstruation for obvious reasons.
And finally, because we hand the girls undergoing training a kit that contain in a bucket – hence, the red bucket.
The said kit consists of the bucket itself, a menstruation cup, a towel and a bar of soap. The metal baltin (red bucket) serves the purpose of containing the rest of the items when not in use; more importantly be a means for the girls to carry clean water to the latrine, and also where they can boil water for sterilisation of the cup.
The idea and long term goal is to mitigate the negative effects of Chhaupadi.
If you don’t know what Chhaupadi is, you can take a look here:
The UNDP states menstrual hygiene is “A Neglected Condition for the achievement of Several Millennium Development Goals”. Poor menstrual hygiene is unequivocally linked to educational, employment, health, and overall developmental outcomes (see a report Here). It’s a problem in terms of safety, health, finances, and also economic and educational participation. Some programs are working to overcome these barriers by making safe, economical, and functional products like menstrual cups available.
There are a lot of studies and analysis about Chhaupadi in Nepal, such as:
The only way to abolish this practice is through mass awareness and education at a community level.
If you ask yourself if that will be good for Nepali women, lets us take a look at previous evaluation programs in Nepal:
MIT Poverty Action Lab Programs
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Poverty Action Lab, have been supplying the MoonCup brand in India and Nepal as part of evaluation programs.
According to reports (“No Menstrual Hygiene For Indian Women Holds Economy Back” – Bloomberg July 25th 2013), parts of India lack adequate plumbing, let alone sanitary disposal units. Around 88% of women in India’s poorer regions “make do with little more than scraps of old cloth”, and “sneak out at night to bury soiled rags in the dirt”.
Women who have been supplied with cups report feeling greater freedom and mobility. One woman said the cup “improved her life and stoked envy from other women”. In Nepal, women and girls said “they were able to bicycle, and that they even forgot they were having their period”.
Results from Nepal suggest that the cups can overcome significant barriers, even if they don’t solve bigger problems.
We will have three broad aims for the project: making voices heard, encouraging self-development, and providing the means to generate income.