In Nepal, menstrual hygiene education can play a life-changing role. It is a prioritized subject in every WASH oriented programs of ECCA and this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day proved to be extra special.
Here’s how one of our ECCA counselors Yaji Sharma shares her account of Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration-
On early morning, our team of ECCA moved to Udaya Kharka Higher Secondary School located at Chapagaun around 22 km north from Bajra Barahi Mandir. Our main purpose was to access menstrual hygiene knowledge, attitudes and practices of school girls and to prompt healthy atmosphere in the school. As we started documentary show followed by discussion program among 55 students and additional teachers, we found that the students lacked sufficient knowledge and behavioral practice on menstrual hygiene. There was equal hesitation to interact freely about menstruation.
But few stood out. Sadiksha Chaudhary, another ECCA counselor writes about her discovery of 15 years old Sabina-
New lease on Life
“Yes, Menstrual Hygiene Awareness is something that has given me a new lease on life. I was totally anonymous about health risk of poor menstrual hygiene management but now, I can break my silence and build awareness among others.” Sabina, a grade nine student of Kittine Higher Secondary School and president of school’s Nature Club shared in an excited voice.
Sabina’s curiosity towards MHM had attracted everyone in awareness session. She seemed to be more active than other students. and frequently requested everyone to listen attentively. She says she used to use sanitary pads for more than 6 hours, sometimes, a whole day. She used to hide her sanitary clothes so that no one could see it. Sometimes, she even used to leave school. She also says now she is aware about infections that might occur to due to poor menstrual hygiene management.
“I am now more attentive towards MHM and also looking forward to inform my family, friends and relatives about it”, said Ms. Shrestha. “Thank you ECCA and ECCA counselors for all the help”, she added.
Infact, ECCA will continue to help schools understand and make requisite arrangements so that girls need not skip school due to menstruation or drop out completely. (A research grant has been announced on the topic “WASH and Girl Friendly Toilet: Social and Technical aspects in the context of Nepal” targeting young and enthusiastic researchers) Besides this, schools can play a very important role by providing exclusive focus on menstrual hygiene while developing school’s health education curriculum. Improving toilet and water facilities is an obvious solution but teachers and parents also carry a responsibility to guide girls correctly on safe menstrual practice.