It’s a hiker’s haven that draws in countless trekkers and vacationers each year. It offers myriad rewards for those willing to make the journey. But, what about the people who call Nepal home? At Exodus, we firmly believe in giving back to the communities that give so much to us. That’s why we’re proud to sponsor Freedom Kit Bags – eco-friendly, sustainable, hygienic sanitary wear – to rural and low-income communities across Nepal; locations where many girls and women don’t have access to disposable sanitary products.
Freedom Kit Bags were developed by Beni Rani Ghale, a Nepali woman who campaigns tirelessly to help and empower women, and Dr Rosa Matheson, who campaigns on women’s issues in Nepal. They allow girls to have uninterrupted learning and give them dignity and freedom of movement during a time which they have long been shamed for. These kits give women the eco-friendly products they need, as well as the knowledge they have been denied on menstruation and how to avoid infection.
Did you know?
Though the Nepal we know and love is home to an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, some of its cultural practices go back centuries and are unlike what we know at home. When Nepalese women have their period, they are referred to as “chhaupadi” which translates to “untouchable being”. The result: Nepalese women not being able to continue life as they normally would during their period, which in many cases means young girls and women cannot attend school, go to work, or live their day-to-day life for an entire week each month.
It goes without saying that there is a lack of education and understanding of the functions of the body regarding menstruation and reproduction within Nepal. Take that and add in the traditional religious beliefs and superstitions the country is raised on and the extreme poverty that many people in rural Nepal live with and it’s no surprise there is such a negative view towards menstruation and how to properly handle it. Though this is changing in many parts of Nepal, the more rural villages are not quite so quick to adopt these new views. In most instances, even if the resources existed, there is no money available for non-essentials and unfortunately, sanitary wear is deemed non-essential.
The lack of hygienic protection due to these cultural norms and the lack of funds also means that many village women suffer from infections which then lead to other health issues such as infertility, kidney complications and pelvic infections. Being able to stay clean and healthy during this time is not only vital to the overall health of women, but also for their personal empowerment. If you improve the life of a woman, you help the family and therefore improve the life of the community.
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