We are really happy at this time when are writing this note for the web. two weeks ago we did a quick travel to Achham (8 days) to see the work done by the new trainers and how were the conditions to arrive and work in the new municipalities.
To the ones that have not read our project proposal for this 2019: we want to arrive to 6 different municipalities. In each one we want to work in 3 villages. And with that in mind, we trained last September 6 new trainers in order to have 6 different work teams at the same time in Achham district to make as much noise as possible and try to avoid any girl’s death in the next rainy season and next winter.
If you are reading this but you don’t know what we do: you should read this page 🙂 but, summarizing, since 2016 we are working against Chhaupadi with menstrual cups, participative photography and education. In Nepal, placing menstruating girls and women in sheds or huts is a centuries-old tradition called Chhaupadi, practised in the western parts of the Hindu-majority country.
The practise is based on the belief that women took upon themselves part of the guilt of the Hindu god Indra for a murder he committed. Hindu literature and scriptures, including Chanakya Neeti, Manusmriti and Garuda Purana, mention that menstrual blood is impure. During their periods, women are considered impure, dirty, contaminated and bad luck.
Menstruating women in West-Nepal are not allowed to touch nutritious food and in some places are instead offered beaten rice and salt. They can’t touch their husbands, other family members, water sources, fruit trees or cattle, among other things.
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 project was prepared to cover as many municipalities as we could have money for. At this moment we have the money for just 3 municipalities, but we have been preparing ourselves for 4 minimum. We have faith that thanks to all of you we will get the money for those 4 or even 5!
West Nepal girls need this kind of program. And we need help to continue the project!
Paypal recurring donations:
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).
As I was explaining, we visited 4 municipalities: Turmakhand, Dhakari, Mangalsen and Sanphebagar. 9 villages within these 4 municipalities (we could not reach 3 because it had been raining cats and dogs for the 2 previous days and the roads were impossible). The other 2 municipalities (Kamalbazar and Chaurpati) are ready to begin the project if we find the money, otherwise the trainers will help in other municipality and next year they will be perfectly ready to undertake the project at home.
The places are remote and beautiful! Each one of them has different things to offer, but all of them are of an exuberant beauty! We met 5 of the 6 trainers (the one from the rainy municipality we could not visit, but we are in contact by phone).
We met as well one of our 3 coordinators: menstrual cup users from the first year that in 2018 worked with us as mentor and this year has been helping to prepare the project at the same time as studying class 11 in Mangalsen.
And we met and talked with the principals from all the government schools where we are going to work, the Chairpersons from all the municipalities, health staff, teachers and a lot of other people.
We had really interesting conversations about what we have been doing for the lasts years and what will we do during this one and everybody is really happy, willing to help as much as they can and excited to have us in their municipalities.
The reality is that all the Awareness Projects they do against Chhaupadi have really poor results and ours has a hight rate of girls changing the tradition! So everybody is excited to see if we can begin to change that in more places and with a more continuous presence of our trainers on the field (they are all local women).
Written and photos by Clara Garcia Ortés, corrected by Tere Salinero.