Menstrual health is often neglected in mountain communities such as those in Gorkha. When the girls and women have their periods, they often use cloth rags which are unsanitary and can cause various diseases. Most girls and women in Gorkha come from weaker economic backgrounds, so they usually don’t have money to buy sanitary pads available in the market all of which are for one-time use. The reusable kits are not easily available in the market. As a result, girls often choose to stay at home instead of going to school when they are having their periods. Plus, most community schools don’t have clean toilets and access to water which is a big obstacle to maintain personal hygiene. Instead of actively dealing with periods at school, which can be very difficult when you don’t have means such as clean pads and water and proper knowledge, girls stop going to school. That’s about 5 days (or even more) loss from the school every month. In one year, that’s more than 50 days. The lower school attendance hampers their studies and also affects their future in the long run.
The problem isn’t for young girls only. Even grownup women find it difficult to maintain personal menstrual hygiene and therefore choose not to go anywhere in public or stop working in their fields. Those who go out to study or their work with their unsanitary cloth rags only harm their health. Moreover, if they don’t know how to properly dispose their homemade pads, it could lead to dirty environment and diseases.
Therefore, this project is extremely important. The reusable long-lasting kits will ensure girls and women of the mountain communities of Gorkha won’t have to worry about skipping school or work. We are also planning to use female nurses/health professionals to conduct menstrual health workshops to teach how to use the kits, how to take care of their health and so on. The knowledge provided by the nurses/health professionals will be very useful to prevent various diseases and practice personal menstrual hygiene.
The main target groups of this project are: school and college girls, teachers and all women of menstruating age group. We will also provide the personal hygiene kits to female community health volunteers who work hard for their communities.
Sambhav Nepal proposes the project Personal Hygiene Kits to distribute long-lasting reusable personal hygiene kits to girls and women of Gorkha district. The project will address one of the main health problems that force school and college girls to stay away from school and college every month. Our project aims to solve this problem and achieve long-lasting benefits for school and college girls. They won’t have to skip school every month and easily study for their dreams & goals. Our project also aims to help female teachers of community schools, female community health volunteers and all the other women who are in menstruating age group.
One of the main objectives of this project is also to help in the prevention of diseases caused by poor menstrual hygiene. If menstruation isn’t properly taken care of, it can lead to various diseases such as urinary tract infection, yeast infection, cervical cancer, Hepatitis B, reproductive tract infection and so on. These diseases are hard to deal with. Their treatment can be costly if the families of girls and women are poor.
To start the project, we need the funding for at least 5,000 personal hygiene kits. The more kits we can deliver, the better it is. But for starting and running the project, 5,000 kits are the minimum requirement. Considering the transportation, we have set the minimum requirement as it is easier and cheaper to transport 5,000 kits at once in a single truck to Gorkha from Kathmandu. The kits will be manufactured by Days for Girls in Kathmandu.
We will order and purchase high-quality customized kits from Days for Girls (You have find information about them in their website: https://www.daysforgirls.org/). The customized kits will include:
1 bar of soap
2 transport ziploc plastic bags for washing and storage
4 long liners
4 standard liners
1 long shield
1 standard shield
1 care and use sheet (calendar)
1 drawstring bag to hold all components
These kits usually last for 2/2.5 years depending upon the users.
Initially the project will be focused in 4 rural municipalities of Gorkha:
Chum Nubri Rural Municipality
Dharche Rural Municipality
Arughat Rural Municipality
Bhimsen Rural Municipality
We will start in Chum Nubri, the highest located and northernmost rural municipality in Gorkha. It shares borders with Tibet. Once we have completed here, we will distribute in Dharche, then in Arughat and then in Bhimsen. We will start from the highest places and move to lower areas.
After we have completed in these 4 rural municipalities, we will expand our project to the remaining rural municipalities and urban municipalities. They are listed below:
Ajirkot Rural Municipality
Sulikot Rural Municipality
Siranchowk Rural Municipality
Sahid Lakhan Rural Municipality
Gandaki Rural Municipality
Community & Local Government Support:
The project has full support by the communities and local governments of Gorkha. They have expressed their commitment to help us make this project successfully. They will provide assistance in data collection, communication, distribution, transportation, project approval paperwork and so on. The entire Chum Nubri area and most villages of Dharche aren’t connected by roads. The road goes up to Machha Khola. From there, we will have to use mules and porters. The local governments of these villages will use their own budget to distribute the personal hygiene kits in the villages not connected by road. This will be a huge help to our project and make it effective.
In the future, if we receive large-scale funding for a huge number of kits, instead of buying the kits from Days from Girls, we will partner with them and set up our own factory in Gorkha. This is more reasonable as we will be able to acquire kits at a bit lower rates, remove transportation cost for taking kits from Kathmandu and help the locals earn income.
Our main focus will be women of lower economic backgrounds for various jobs at the factory. The factory will require workers for sewing, raw materials procurement, packaging, operations, cleaning, accounting and so on. We will only hire needy local women for these roles and provide employment to them and help them uplift their economic conditions.
DECEMBER PROJECT UPDATE – 2020
Our project to distribute the personal hygiene kits is progressing. In the initial stage, we are going to provide 2,500 kits in Arughat Rural Municipality to school & college girls, female teachers of community schools, female community health volunteers and all the other women who are in menstruating age group. This is being funded by The Butcher and Nepal, a charity organization started by Alan Waldon and Samantha Waldon. You can check for project updates at this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thebutcherandnepal. If you want to support the project and help us buy more kits, please donate to The Butcher and Nepal.
Currently we are preparing the project proposal and other documents to submit to Social Welfare Council. Once we have their approval, we will order the kits, transfer them to Arughat and distribute them to the target groups.
PILOT PROJECT – Feb 2020
As a pilot project, we distributed the customized personal hygiene kits made by Days for Girls in February 2020. During the test phase, we distributed the kits to the female students and teachers of the Bhawani Higher Secondary School hostel in Manbu and Dharapani Secondary School in Dharapani. The recipients were very happy with the kits and successfully used them. The pilot was done with the funding provided by Alan Waldon and his daughter Samantha Waldon. Seeing how happy and relieved the students and teachers were, Alan and Samantha highly suggested that we expand the project and distribute the personal hygiene kits to more students, teachers and women of Gorkha district.
Alan Waldon is the first supporter of Sambhav Nepal. He came to Nepal to trek in 2006 during which time he saw the struggles and hardships that Nepali children endure. He realized an immediate need for school renovations along with many other basic requirements. With the support of individuals and institutions based in Sydney, he raised the funds for the renovation work of Bhairabi Primary School which is the first project done by Sambhav Nepal. By raising funds through his butcher store Eastern Road Quality Meats (Sydney, Australia) to school fundraisers, Allan has made a remarkable contribution in helping uplift the welfare of the entire Arupokhari village.
Kits Distribution in Dharapani Secondary School Feb 2020