We already have the first results form our participatory photography workshops. Seeing how girls start freeing themselves and start explaining things through photography is exciting. The first thing that surprised us was that most of them are convinced to follow the tradition. There are few Chhaupadi huts here, most girls sleep in the cowshed or in “rooms” on the ground floor of their homes. Most don’t have a door or any safety measure, as well as all the inconvenience of Chhaupadi in Achcham. The weather is probably colder than in Achcham, it is windy, and there is water everywhere.
Nobody has told us yet that they do it because of social pressure, which is what we were told in Achcham. Here, it really looks like they do it because of their faith. During the workshops, they spoke about “impure” blood, but they do not mention the word Chhaupadi or Chhau. They do use the word Got, but not Chhaugot, they only call it Got.
We think it will be even more difficult to deal with the issue here. Luckily, this time we will spend longer in each town, and so far we are establishing a very beautiful relationship with girls and women. They are all very interested. Yesterday, some women who were around joined the lessons, and today we had more than 60 girls at the workshop for over 11-year-olds we do after school – this, even though it was the day they were sorting the grain from the hay! It is a day when boys work in the morning and girls help out in the afternoon (even though it is the women the ones who sow and harvest the grain).
Let’s bear in mind that it is one of the areas in Nepal where malnutrition is highest – and, therefore, has one of the highest rates of infant mortality. They mainly live off agriculture. Now is the season for harvesting wheat, and we are witnessing how everything is done manually. This makes me think of my grandma telling me what granaries and plots were for in country houses. Here I am seeing how everyone works in the plots.
We are hoping to find out more in the next few days, and manage to sow the seed of doubt regarding superstitions. Today we also introduced the menstrual cups and have told them we have a few for a pilot project. They are all very interested in it. I think tomorrow morning we will have a long queue to sign up on the list. The ones who do not get one will be registered in the waiting list for next time. K Garne? 😉
Written by Clara Go. Photos done with FUJIFILM X-Pro1 © Clara Go Translated to English by Alba Miquel
West Nepal girls need this kind of program. And we need help to continue the project!
Now you can donate for paying one month salary to the nurse, or for some hygiene kit or for the menstrual cup control in September: http://beartsy.org/get-involved-with-rato-baltin
Or If you feel like it, you can donate via bank transfer at: Banc Sabadell IBAN: ES23 0081 0900 8200 0430 1934 BIC: BSABESBB (your recurring donation will help us have a better planning of our budget to carry out the projects undertaken).
Or take a look others ways to donate in http://beartsy.org/donate/
Thank You! 🙂