Nepal presents very serious issues connected to the menstrual cycle. As a matter of fact, according to a traditional Hindu practice called Chhaupadi, girls and women during menstruation are considered impure. Depending on the areas of the country —more or less rural ones and especially in Western areas—, women are isolated from the community and/or are not allowed to carry out some simple activities such as cooking, touching men or livestock, attending school, having a family or a social life.
Influenced by this traditional practice, as well as by the lack of sexual education and poor awareness concerning hygiene issues, women often experience diseases and infections of the reproductive system.
Furthermore, women do not even have easy access to hygiene and health items, such as sanitary towels and tampons. As a consequence, they end up using pieces of cloth, old clothes, and other materials, which are then hand-washed —often in river or stagnant water—, increasing the risk of diseases.
The project foresees to set up a production unit in the municipality of Panauti in the district of Kavrepalanchowk, to be run by a women’s cooperative called Shree Mata Saraswati Mahila Bikash Cooperative.
The goal is to produce female sanitary towels to be sold to neighbouring communities and, at the same time, to offer sexual-education and to carry out awareness campaigns.
This initiative aims to generate income for the women who will be working in the production unit and were affected by the earthquake in April 2015.