In 2005 the Government of Nepal declared the practice of Chhaupadi illegal, and since 2018 it has been considered a criminal offense with explicit consequences. However, there are areas in Nepal where faith in tradition is stronger than the law.
How does Chhaupadi impact menstruating girls and women?
The Chhaupadi tradition considers menstruating girls and women as impure and deprives them of their most basic needs. They are:
– Forbidden from entering the family home, instead, they stay in cattle sheds or makeshift huts
– Forbidden from touching men and/or food others will consume
– Forbidden from consuming milk, yogurt, butter, meat, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods
– Forbidden from crossing water so some are restricted from attending school
Those subject to this practice risk exposure to rape, snakebites, smoke inhalation, animal attacks, and the psychological trauma of considering themselves as ‘dirty’.
Be artsy’s plan to fight Chhaupdi in 2019:
Our NGO partner Be Artsy connects the upholding of Chhaupadi with the lack of sexual and menstrual health education among communities in West Nepal. That’s why their four-step plan to fight Chhaupadi tackles just that – lack of education and access to safe menstrual care products:
1) Hold workshops that provide sex education to both male and female teenagers in local schools.
2) Provide education through workshops to all women in targeted communities on healthy and hygienic menstrual health care practices.
3) Hand out Ruby Cups as well as provide support on how to use and care for their menstrual cups.
4) Create participative photography workshops to help the girls showcase how they feel about their periods and the Chhaupadi tradition, and what they would like to change about the experience.
Throughout 2019, be artsy will work in Accham area with Samabikas Nepal, a local NGO, to execute the four stages of the Rato Baltin (Red Bucket) project.
Last years’ success paves this year’s plan
All girls that participated in be artsy’s project in 2018 feel more comfortable with their bodies. They understand the biological processes and what is happening in their bodies, and many feel that they are now able to help other girls understand their bodies too.
Some girls reported that Chhaupadi has changed for them: they are now allowed to eat vegetables, some can eat fruit, and some are allowed to drink milk.
A number of girls reported that after participating in be artsy’s workshops, their mothers allowed them to have a warm blanket in the chhaugot (hut).
Of the 321 Ruby Cups distributed between April & June 2018 to girls in Achcham, 250 were confirmed as users at the end of November, while 23 were confirmed as non-users.
Be artsy was unable to personally contact 48 girls, but on their last follow-up call over the phone, they reported they were still using their cups.
“After I used menstruation cups, I feel myself so clean and also the surroundings”
– Radhika Bhandari, JanaliBandali
Throughout 2019, be artsy will work in Accham area with Samabikas Nepal, a local NGO, to execute the Rato Baltin (Red Bucket) project.
Remember the four-step plan mentioned above? We will be supporting be artsy in 2019 with 3000 Ruby Cups for their menstrual health management workshops.
Of course, this donation could not have been made without you, dear Rubies.
Thank you for joining our Buy One Give One programme and for telling your friends about menstrual cups and how much of a life-changer they are – for you and a person without access to safe period products.
If you already have a Ruby Cup and want to support another girl, you can simply donate a Ruby Cup without receiving one yourself here.