For 5 days every month Bishna Joshi had to leave her comfort bed and stay in a small shed 'Chhaupadi' without proper ventilation and door. "There was always fear of insects as we lived away from home and in separate area. Also there was fear of sexual abuse." recalled Bishna- local resident of Golai, Bajhang.
Her neighbor Devaki Joshi added, "There was practice not to take bathe for 4 days during the period. In winter it used to be fine but summers were more difficult for us at it used to bring lots of health complications. "
Bishna and Devaki thanked to Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) project in Bajhang which launched three years back, initiated to overcome their problems.
People were not aware about menstruation hygiene and women had to go to river banks during the period to take bathe in open space.
Considering this fact and challenge, the project initiated CS WASH project that priorities water, hygiene and sanitation activities.
"After the construction of public bathroom we have privacy to take bathe as we don't have to go to river banks and bathe in open space." Bishna says. Now, we are not bound by tradition as in past as well, says Bishna with a smile.
Red Cross motivators share awareness in the community on menstrual health and also have provided skill on making re-usable pads which is cost-effective as well as easily accessible.
"The city area of Bajhang is slowly breaking silence and reducing the prohibition as well." Kesh Bahadur Khati (NRCS District Chapter President) states: "There is increasing interest of community people regarding sanitation and women have started to pay more attention to their personal sanitation during menstruation as well".
By Krishna Nepal, Radio Program Producer, Nepal Red Cross Society.