Grishma’s First Encounter with Chhaupadi

Grishma’s First Encounter with Chhaupadi
September 7, 2019 Shaping Young Minds

Grishma Poudyal Reflects on her First Encounter with Chhaupadi:

I came to this very remote village in a rugged, difficult-to-access mountainous area in central Nepal, the Chepang community on a week-long assignment for an academic camp.

One day I noticed a girl named Suni acting uncomfortably in class. I could see nervousness and anxiety in her eyes. During the break, she ran outside the classroom, and I noticed a group of boys start laughing at her. Suni’s legs were all red. I saw her fearfully rush back home. 

I then immediately approached her female teacher. We had a long, eye opening conversation. I was shocked to learn that girls never come to school during their menstruation. There were no toilets in school.

Furthermore, the teacher told me that she has never taught these girls anatomy or adolescence, ashamed of broaching this subject with anyone.

Saddened by these findings, I came to Suni’s house and explained to her the best I could about what had happened to her. I advised  her on how to manage her period. Her face brightened and I felt a bond begin to form between us. Yet, at that moment I knew there was a huge gap when it came to menstrual education and women’s health, not only for Suni but for all the girls in that village. I knew I needed to help them. 

This poor girl had no idea what had happened to her! She had no clue what to do.

This incident motivated me to work in the field of menstrual awareness and training for girls in rural places.

Menstruation is still a taboo topic for girls in Nepal. Mostly in village areas, girls are shy and do not talk about this issue at all. I felt how important it is to reach rural villages and educate girls about their body, changes during adolescence and, most importantly, how to manage menstruation. Thus, from the year 2015, I started visiting villages to train girls and women on menstruation and hygiene on a regular basis.

Grishma Poudyal is a certified Menstrual Health Education trainer and since April 2019 a Program Director for Shaping Young Minds Foundation Nepal. 


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