HCC Graduate Khil is currently HCC’s Program Operations Officer. He previously worked as a Program Coordinator on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of YUWA. He also serves as Vice President of Girls Empowered by Travel. He wrote the following report of his programming for girls at Bal Mandir orphanage in Kathmandu on World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
May 28th is marked as World Menstrual Hygiene Day all over the world, an initiative in which different activities bring awareness to people about menstrual discrimination, taboos and unhealthy and unhygienic practices in different countries regarding menstrual health.
On this day, Himalayan Children’s Charities Nepal team Sadie, Munmaya, Nari, Giri, Barsha, and Khil conducted an hour-long menstrual hygiene awareness seminar and sanitary kits distribution program at Bal Mandir orphanage (managed by Nepal Children Organization) in Kathmandu. From this program, 19 young girls out of 71 living at the orphanage were directly benefited. Sanitary kits were handed to the clinic in-charge for those who missed the program due to their morning school. There were 70 packets(700 pieces) sanitary kits for those young girls living at the orphanage. The program was coordinated by Khil with the objective to bring awareness of proper menstrual health to young girls living at the orphanage and to provide them hygienic kits to cultivate good, hygienic and healthy habits during menstrual cycles.
The program started at 8 AM with a welcome note, sharing the objective of the program, introducing the HCCN team and later the participants of the program. Also, a quiz was conducted to build rapport among the participants and to give them a better idea of basics of menstrual health care and why May 28th is important. For each winner, one packet sanitary kit was awarded by Barsha to encourage their answers. Later, the session was carried out by Nari, where she shared and discussed menstruation, menstrual hygiene practices among young girls in Nepal, cultural barriers, improper practices and how to have healthy and happy periods with some real-life examples. She was supported by Barsha, Munamaya, and Sadie with their input on the content as well, making the discussion more engaging and effective.
Lastly, Giri thanked all the participants and the orphanage Management Team for providing us with the venue and the participants for conducting the program. The overall program was effective and Management Personnel Sabita said
“We are very happy to have you here conducting such an informative program to our young girls. These type of program is very crucial specially for young ones when they have their first period and have so many queries in their head and need proper guidance and support. Please, let us know if there are more such activities in future days and we heartily welcome you and your team.”
HCC graduates have been committed to fighting against the cultural stigma of menstruation, previously distributing washable feminine hygiene kits and teaching feminine hygiene classes to HCC supported students in Dhading and other rural districts in Nepal. In rural areas of Nepal especially, stigma and shame are attached to menstruation but HCC graduates are leading to charge to eradicate the stigma and promote healthy and hygienic practices for girls.