World Menstrual Hygiene Day holds special significance for women’s health, and on 24th May 2023, the National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) marked this important occasion with a transformative workshop in Shankharapur Municipality, Nepal. Guided by Trainer Nirmala Shrestha, the workshop aimed to educate and empower Young Indigenous Girls from the Shankharapur FIG Group, focusing on menstrual hygiene, personal care, and gynecological health. The highlight of the event was the distribution of 18 Freedom Pad Kits, carefully crafted to cater to the unique needs of women in remote and underserved areas.
The workshop served as a safe space for open discussions about sexual and reproductive well-being, breaking the barriers of stigma and shame that often surround menstruation. The girls were encouraged to embrace their bodies and confidently manage their menstrual cycles, promoting a sense of empowerment and self-assurance.
The Freedom Pad Kits, thoughtfully assembled by NIWF, included a range of essential items that provided comprehensive menstrual care. Each kit featured:
- Cloth Kit Bag: A well-designed bag to keep the entire kit together, making it convenient for the girls to carry their essentials discreetly and comfortably.
- Three Cloth Pad Holders: Specially crafted to securely hold the cloth pads in place on panties, ensuring maximum comfort and protection during menstruation.
- Six Washable Pads: These reusable cloth pads were made with nine layers of soft and absorbent cotton or fleece, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads.
- Three Pairs of Panties: Recognizing the challenges faced by women in acquiring undergarments in remote areas, the kits included panties to complete the set.
- One Medium-Sized Cloth Purse: A specially designed bag to carry pads and accessories discreetly, promoting a sense of privacy and convenience.
- One Wet Purse: An essential waterproof pouch provided to store soiled pads, allowing for easy transportation and subsequent washing at home.
- One Soap: Equipped with soap to facilitate hand-washing before and after changing pads, promoting hygiene and cleanliness.
- Drying Line and Two Pegs: In consideration of the limited resources in remote communities, these items were included to support the drying process of the cloth pads.
The distribution of the Freedom Pad Kits followed a comprehensive workshop focused on women’s health, where the girls were encouraged to confidently embrace their menstrual cycles and utilize the pads with ease. Trainer Nirmala Shrestha also emphasized the importance of seeking medical attention for personal health issues without any shame or hesitation.
Through this remarkable initiative, undertaken by NIWF and the FIG Group, the aim was to empower women and young girls and promote better menstrual health practices in remote and underserved communities. By providing access to quality menstrual hygiene products and promoting awareness and understanding, NIWF is taking significant strides toward ensuring that menstruation is no longer a barrier to the well-being and empowerment of women in Nepal.