“Now, we don't shelter at cow-shed during menstruation”

Dudhkala Bista, Bhagshwor,25, VDC-5, Achham, a widow and victim of Chhaupadi from a Far-western district of Nepal

June 18, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -1 June 14- 2013 (Jestha 31, 2070)

Life was full of misery as financial status of our family was not so strong.  Further I passed through a series of challenges as the society always perceives single women negatively. During menstruation period, I was also kept at chhau (cow-shed, a place arranged for women during menstruation) at my parental home. I faced so many problems because of chhaupadi (women having living to live in a cow-shed during menstruation). I was scared and couldn’t fall asleep the whole nights. I was not allowed to attend public functions during menstruation period which deprived me from getting so many opportunities. Due to the lack of food, I often had to suffer hunger. I always thought about the cow-shed and suffering even before my menstruation period started. I often consumed medicine to delay my menstruation.

During this time, Samabikas Nepal (a partner organization of RDIF) launched a project against chhaupadi in our village for raising awareness against this harmful practice and building self-confidence among women. The project consulted with villagers and formed Chhaupadi Monitoring Committee both at village development committee (VDC) and ward levels to eliminate this social evil. I joined Ward-level Chaupadi Monitoring Committee.  The affiliation with the committee offered me chances to attend various interactions, trainings, discussions and seminars. I came to know on various aspects of chhaupadi which ultimately encouraged me to live in house during menstruation period.

Now, we women are living happily after getting rid of chhaupadi. The project has improved health conditions of women. Girls have not been deprived of education and child mortality rate mainly caused because of pneumonia has also declined in this short span of time.

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