Kanchanpur, Thirty-four community schools and twenty-seven private schools in Krishnapur Municipality, Kanchanpur, have started providing sanitary pads to adoloscent girls. The municipality has allocated Rs 100,000 to initiate the project.
The decision by the local government aims to encourage menstruating girls to regularly attend schools during their periods. Research shows that lack of sanitary pads is one of the main reasons why girls in rural areas miss their schools.
Kanchanpur is one of the far-western districts in Nepal where Chhaupadi— a practice of keeping menstruating women and new mothers in seclusion — is still pervasive despite its criminalisation.
Research findings show that due to lack of awareness and unavailability of sanitary pads, women and girls in rural areas use pieces of old rags in order to stem the discharge during their monthly periods.
Girls in their periods are often discouraged, sometimes even forced, to not attend schools. They are compelled to stay in isolation and are barred from touching public taps, visiting religious places and eating nutritious food.
To counter with this age-old misconception, the municipality has come up with several measures. The municipality is to provide free pathology services to pregnant and senior citizens from the local health posts. It also guarantees an allowance of Rs 300 each to all post-partum patients during their health checkups.
“We are committed to building a health society by making people aware of their health,” said Karna Bahadur Hamal, the municipality mayor.