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Change should begin from within

Many girls in many part of my country leave the school after their menstruation period begins because the menstruation is taken as the punishment of the sin that we have done in our previous life. There are different cultures in many societies that people do after a girl’s menstruation periods begin. Some of them are acceptable as cultures but some of them are as like as the terrible torture for girls in the name of culture and rituals. At the time when girls need the physical and mental support they are left with the unanswered psychological questions.

Even in the places near to urban cities and other rural part, girls have left the school after their menstruation or are not attending the school or many have shown the poor performance in school after this change in their body. It is because our education doesn’t include the complete knowledge on reproductive health. There are no proper toilets or no toilet in school so that girls can have the privacy is also one of the reasons for leaving the school and not attending the school.
I was also one who went through the same state in the name of ritual. As I believe that ‘Change should begin from within’-after I realize that during this change in body one needs support and care, I didn’t allow my younger sisters to go through the same circumstances.

Though there are countless things which need to be changed but I focused to work for the awareness of the same. With the help from a Australian Rotary and through our parent rotary club of the rotaract club of which I’m an Immediate past president, I have succeed to transfer the fund to build the girls toilet in the school in Dolakha-140 km far from the capital city of Kathmandu and I am coordinating for the same. For post-toilet project period, I’m working to form a group from the same school to trained them and mobilize them in their own community to raise awareness in women who can be the best agent of change.

‘Empowering the one who are uneducated is tougher but those who are semi-educated and still stick to the conservative tradition is tougher than that’. I definitely need the support of pulse wire as it is the great resource of the experts to solve the problems which seems not big but is a major problem. There can be many good ideas to solve it, or there can be helping hands for further establishments of the girls toilet and necessary things. I am eager to have further knowledge on reproductive health and the ways to raise awareness.

‘I believe that gender equality can’t be maintained without facilitating them with what they need and empowering them’. To bring the bigger change one needs to start from the ground level, I am doing the same! My journey towards the greater change has just begun and radiance is yet to be experienced and observed with your help and support!

Comments

Iffat Gill's picture

Fighting stereotypes is tough!

So proud of you and the work you are doing. Fighting the stereotypes in your region that are related to local customs and behaviours is the first and foremost to be challenged when we are working for change, and it is the toughest one too.I had to face a similar situation when we persuaded women (mothers) to send their un-educated daughters to our vocational training center to learn skills. we had to conduct countless meetings and reflect circles with the women and then got help and support from the women who had leadership potential from within the target group. I hope you manage to figure out a similar strategy that is more suitable for your region.
All the best,
Rose.

Iffat Gill

nilima's picture

Rose, Yes i am looking for

Rose,

Yes i am looking for the better strategy, and it is always slower and tougher kind of things to persude someone to accept the change.

I hope you will sharing your experiences so that i may get the best idea.

thank you for your time on my post:)

Leelee's picture

Wow this is interesting -

Wow this is interesting - whereas in the Rastafarian community, when the women are menstruating they go off by themselves and the men of the household take care of the children. I know some Rasta women who love this week of solitude and reflection once a month :)

'Harlem: A Dream Deferred' - Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

nilima's picture

Leelee

you are right the tradition is only acceptable when it doesnt stop smone to live his/her life in a normal way, as i have already mentioned, there are culture which is acceptable to but one shouldnt be stopped to work or study.
thank you so much for your valuable time and the information you shared.

plz be in touch:)

Sarvina's picture

Great work!

Hi Nilima,

Your articles is so interesting and also making me moved of your hard work! We women are always shy during we have period. When I first got period, I was so ashamed cos of my classmates (boys) laughed to me and said I had blood coming from my bottom. Why I have to be ashamed....just becos the school had no toilet as what your article posted. It is really connected my story when I was young too and it reminded my shamefulness.

With loves,
Sarvina

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia

nilima's picture

yes servina, the time we

yes servina, the time we spent so hard in school is the main lesson for me to do this work. I am sure you also have the story to tell about this, please write your story, i want to know whats happens in the other part of this world too.

thank you for your comments:)

Sarvina's picture

Sure.......i will write it.

Sure.......i will write it. It's not too different from your story there:)

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia

nilima's picture

i will be waiting for you to

i will be waiting for you to write however i also suggest you to join the 'our red tents' group in pulse wire which is the great platform to share our menstruation and birth experiences!

Sarvina's picture

Thanks so much dear for

Thanks so much dear for sharing this group to me! I will join and share it there. I'm also looking to seeing your story there too. Have a nice day:)

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia

nilima's picture

:)

:)

abella's picture

This is news to me!

Hi Nilima,

Wow! as i read your piece i am suprised how much of streotype a woman need to go through. Even in event where we were naturaly created that way it is turned to be our shame,real I have never heard of this before it is news to me and it does make me feel bad for the little girls out there, whose confidence and champion spirit is taken away from them because of the ignorance of the society surrounding them.

Thank you for doing a great job to fight against this, best of luck in this initiative.I am moved.

I am because we are :-)

nilima's picture

i am honored

dear abella,

i am honored to share the journey in this part of the world and i am really thankful for the way you encouraged me. I am sure together we can see thee change we want to :)

dg.vegas's picture

Yes! I read this before and

Yes! I read this before and thought it was great! Are you familiar with Mooncups? they are silicone menstrual cups, reusable, last 10 year, the original company is based in the UK http://www.mooncup.co.uk/contact.html you should inquiry maybe they are willing to donate to your work!

nilima's picture

Dear Diana,

Thank you so much for sending me the link, i will be talking to them very soon. I hope it will definitely help.

you are such a great person to let me know about this , thank u for your time on my post and suggesting me the solution too:)

Laurika's picture

Mindset or ritual?

Wow,this is one interesting yet disturbing fact.So this simply means that because menstrual periods start at different ages in young girls lives,there are huge gaps in literacy levels among women.

Gender issues really need to be equalized sonn rather than later-becayse this acts against women and is fir man to pursue their lives to the full extent,reason being they don't go on menstruations;talk about unfairness!

nilima's picture

true

you have asked really a great question here , it will make me easier to work further!! the mindset or ritual- it makes me to think how should i work!! Thank you for being here on my post and leaving the worthy question to be think about.

thanx really!

Laurika's picture

One team!

I'm here for you and not against you!

nilima's picture

ya i feel so, and your

ya i feel so, and your comment over here has made me to think out side of the box too. thanx so much really once again.

rozjean's picture

So interesting!

Hi Nilima,
I read your essay with great interest and even discussed it with my husband who is a former Peace Corps volunteer. He pointed out to me that the problem of girls leaving school after the onset of menstruation is actually not uncommon in many places in the world. I agree with you that it is necessary to teach reproductive health as a part of an educational program (for boys as well as girls!). What I really admire is your understanding that unless basic needs are met, in this case by providing toilets for the girls, the girls will miss out on their opportunity for the kind of education you envision. Best of luck to you...you are engaged in really important work!
With warmest regards,
rozjean

nilima's picture

Dear Rozjean

It is really a great platform for us to discuss about everything! I am more enlightened and getting more knowledge! You are very true that its very common in many part of the world and we need to workout for the same. I have taken the initiation and i believe on day there will be others too who will be joining me in this work!

thank u so much for you time here which makes me feel that i am being listened!

Thank u

Marti's picture

Dear Nilima, You have a lot

Dear Nilima,

You have a lot of potential to help others--your voice is practical, intelligent and focused on solutions. Thank you for working to help as I'm sure you are impacting the lives of many!

In partnership with you,
Marti

nilima's picture

hey Marti

thank u so much for your appreciation , your time on my post is much valuable!! will be looking forward to hear suggestions and ideas with support!

thank u so much!

semeyer's picture

Sanitary Pads

Nilima-

I love this journal entry, your passion for empowering women really shows. I had no idea that those cultural traditions existed in Nepal- making women ashamed of a natural bodily function. I think its wonderful that you are committed to this cause, working to bring bathrooms to impoverished women so they may have a more dignified experience during their menstrual cycles. I also love that you believe in the power of women and their ability to cause change, starting from within.

I myself am working for an organization in Kenya called ZanaAfrica. Women and adolescent girls here also struggle when they get their periods, as they cannot afford the sanitary pads on the market. Most girls stay home and eventually drop out of school, some resort to unsanitary methods such as using old rags and even cow dung, still others resort to prostitution. At ZanaAfrica we donate sanitary pads to adolescent girls in slum areas so they can remain in school, graduate and realize their full potential. Eventually we will begin manufacturing our own eco-friendly pads which will be more affordable than any other product on the market.

I'm glad we have so much in common!! Look forward to connecting with you.

Sarah

Sarah Meyer

nilima's picture

hey

yes we have so much in common. As i am just in the beginning of my journey, you can be the great supporter as you have already worked in this field, I am sure i can educate many girls and i can increase the absent of the girls in school during their periods.

I am sure you most have so much knowledge about the teenage health , specially on the menstruation health, i am eager to hear from you to know about the same. Please share you knowledge so that we pulsewire members can learn and implement that in our community.

thank you so much for being on my post and i look forward to hear from you soon.

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