Our one day workshops aim to bring a sense of community by educating, providing resources and inspiring women and girls to consider their relationship with menstruation.
You can get involved by donating for a woman or girl to have a place in a future workshop.
Here’s an account of one of our early workshops in November 2018 from Sophie:
“We were given a room in the municipality ward office to do the presentations about the menstruation kits. Only women were allowed to come in of course, creating a safe space for women to listen.
Many women had been told about the opportunity to attend. Women mainly from the lowest ‘untouchable’ cast, dalits, who have little money and education.
However we had no idea how many were going to come. The shyness around the subject means it’s very unpredictable, one person’s comment could sway a whole group one way or another whether to come or not.
But women did come, spread out across the afternoon. Starting with a group of women who mostly looked very young but weren’t in school uniform, so had either left school early to work or just finished. They were definitely very shy and as Meena started talking, introducing the topic and using a diagram to explain the physical process of menstruation there were a lot of embarrassed giggles and hiding behind their hands.
But they mellowed as Meena joked and made light of the situation, pointing out that Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi, Goddesses within the Hindu faith are also female, so they menstruate too; it’s a universal process that most women will experience. When I stood up to talk I mentioned that we have taboos in the UK too, to talk about it and to share our experiences, which is ridiculous as there is no need to be embarrassed about it.
Goddesses within the Hindu faith are also female, so they menstruate too; it’s a universal process that most women will experience
The second group were mainly girls from the school that I have visited and taught at many times while I have been here in Baseri, it’s called Mahalaxmi Secondary. It is the school that my friend, Sabin, went to when he was a boy.
The room was full, and although there was still some shyness, there was a lot of intrigue too. The room was silent (which doesn’t happen very often in a room full of Nepalis).
They lined up outside to receive their kit afterwards and I handed them out to many embarrassed faces, big smiles and thank yous
The third group was from a school about one hours walk away, further up the mountain. They were a smaller group because apparently about 40 of the girls who were going to come were too shy, scared to talk about menstruation.
The girls who did come were again shy, but very excited to get their kits, crowding round to open them together afterwards.
One girl, Sarita Gurung, stayed behind afterwards to tell me how happy she was to meet me and to get the kit. Between our basic Nepali and English, she told me that she was one of five children who have no mother.
we are all in this sisterhood together, no matter what colour our skin or what our background is
When I get insights like these it is a summary for why I am so passionate about this work. I know that these situations are commonplace but to hear it first hand, hammers it home. Growing up without a mother, a direct female role model, in a society where teachers are often too embarrassed to teach the reproductive health classes so it is skipped is a reality for a lot of girls. Navigating teenage years as a female is tough (for males too I know) so to provide hope and support through these kits and highlighting the fact that we are all in this sisterhood together, no matter what colour our skin or what our background is, that is magical.
The next morning five women arrived at Sabin’s family home, at around 7am. They had heard about the kits but had not been able to come to the class. They were asking if they were able to have one.
Of course, we said yes, and Meena was able to give them a demonstration of how to use the kits and a summary of the information given.
I was super happy that the word had spread far enough for women to hear about it and come of their own accord to ask for a kit ❤️
One more woman came the following morning ❤️
We were still left with just over 40 kits after the first day. So 3 days later we went to a church further down the mountain in the lower part of the village, where lower caste women go every week, to share the education and the kits with them.
The church is not a church as you might picture in Europe, but the setting couldn’t be more beautiful, with views out across the valley.
I went in to experience part of the service first. Singing hymns in Nepali followed by slightly more familiar praying and hallelujahs!
Afterwards women sat on the floor to listen, with their children, and more women joined as we went through the process.
As slightly older women I think they were less embarrassed and asked many more questions, clarifying how to use the sanitary towels.
As they came out of the church I handed each one a kit, super beautiful moments ❤️ and we stood in front of the church to take a photo ❤️”