Information Menstruation and Hygiene
Location Kale ka Sarana Mabey, secondary school.
It’s Monday 26 March and Douwe, Zohartze, Saheen of Local Women’s Handicrafts (LWHNepal) and I are on our way to distribute 74 sanitary packages at the Kala Ka Sarana Maybe secondary school just outside Kathmandu Valley. A one and a half hour taxi ride takes us through the hills of the Kathmandu Vallei. The classroom, where Saheen is going to give the information and where we will hand out the sanitary packages is transformed so it can hold around 74 students and their teachers. An overwhelming noice with the moving of the benches and the nervous giggles about what is going to happen. Zohartze, who is making a video about today installs herself between the students so she has a good view on the upcoming lecture. We take our place in front of the class and the lesson can start.
Saheen starts by introducing everybody and telling her personal story. To create a bigger impact she tells from her own life experience with her first menstruation. She explains how her mother only gave her some extra underwear and said that what happend to her was normal for girls and women. This lack of information and support resulted in that nine months after her first period she had an infection for what she had to go to the hospital, spending all her savings. This is also one of the reasons that it is so important for her that the young women of today have the necessary information and products so that they never have to experience the same as her.
After sharing her personal story Saheen asked these young students how they were treated during their first period. It was shocking to find out that, even in the suburbs of Kathmandu, 8 of the 74 students present, depending on their community, have to spent their period, in enclosed dark rooms for between seven and twelve days. This is a very traditional and terrible practise, already banned by the government. Be sharing this information and handing out the right materials we hope to further stop these inhumane practices.
The use of the sanitary packages were then thoroughly explained by Saheen so the students know how to use everything and especially know how to keep it clean and when they need to renew the inlays to prevent infections.
Then it was time for us to introduce ourselves and Douwe firstly told about Foundation Creative Nepal (FCN) and the connected local initiatives. Then I came forward and got a warm greeting on the repetition of the well-known word ‘Namaste’. My name then became the topic of the day because one of the students had a similar name. I told about the cooperation between FCN and LWHNepal and that we had received donations from the Netherlands so that we could give the sanitary packages to them. We ended the day with a group photo in the outdoor area, and with many happy faces on beautiful female students we left back home.
Foundation Creative Nepal