Period stigma is still commonplace across western rural areas of Nepal. Young women and girls are also facing extra barriers under lockdown to maintain their period in a safe and dignified way.

In communities where the taboo known as chhaupadi still exists, in order to remain “clean”, girls are forbidden to touch communal objects. On top of this, the economic crisis has left many young women and girls unable to afford period products.

Globally, nearly 20 percent of young girls miss school because of the stigma that still surrounds menstruation. Prior to lockdown, the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) project Sisters for Sisters trained more than 2,000 girls across four districts to make reusable sanitary pads.

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The girls learn from positive female role models called “big sisters”. These local women mentor, inspire and motivate their “little sisters” by encouraging them to go to school, empowering them to speak out in lessons, and ensuring they get the education they need to unlock their potential.

In the last few weeks, VSO has distributed sanitary hygiene packs to almost 3,000 girls in Nepal’s Surkhet, Lamjung, Dhading and Parsa districts. The kits includes basic wash support items such as soap, a reusable sanitary pad, underwear and liquid chlorine.

You can find out more about VSO’s Sisters for Sisters project here

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