Charikot . The number of female students staying absent from schools during the time of menstruation has decreased recently in Dolakha. Many rural schools had been facing the problem of increasing absenteeism rate of female students because of menstruation related factors.
According to teachers, female students stay absent because of the traditional menstrual practice that neither allows menstruating girls to touch other people nor go out of the house. But with conduction of different menstruation related awareness programs in the schools, there has been decrease in the absent number. Teachers of Bhirkot-1 and Jhule-2 happily share that the female students have started to openly discuss about menstrual related problems and solutions.
“Menstruation related trainings and pad distribution in schools has encouraged female students to regularly attend school”, shares Tara K.C., teacher of Janata Basic School, Jhule. The programs are being conducted by Environmental Camps for Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) with action medeor‘s support. “We have been providing those pads to our students in case they have menstruation during school hours”, she added.
“Menstruation has never been an open topic for rural communities so it is very important to raise that bar”, said Bipin Kumar Shrestha, Program Officer of ECCA. “Along with hygiene management techniques, we have taught them (school students and local women groups of Tamakohi municipality ward 1 and 2) about reusable and washable pad making.” He added that the program aims to help women and girls prevent reproductive system related problems as well.
“Girls used to rarely talk about menstruation but after the training, they have started to share their problems”, says Gaytri Siwakoti, Principal of Jana Prabat Secondary School, Jhule. “As we also participated in the training, it has been easier for us to counsel our students.”
Changing perception and attitude among students is equally outstanding. Ashmita Karki, student of Ganesh Lower Secondary School, Bhirkot shares that she and her friends preferred to remain absent before. “However, I now know that menstruation is a natural process… especially learning how to make reusable and washable pads has been a great help for all of us.” Anita Shresta, who studies in the same school shares that with making pads from materials at home, she has been saving some amount as well and that she has been teaching other girls and women of her communities to make the pads.
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