Hamro Palo believes passionately in a world where all adolescent girls, boys, youth, and women have access to the skills they need to create a safe and healthy future.
In Nepal, stigmatization and taboos around menstruation have a devastating impact on the lives of youth and women, reinforcing deep patterns of gender inequality and exclusion.
That’s why health and hygiene are such an important focus of Hamro Palo’s celebrated, in-school workshops. This year, when Hamro Palo conducted a baseline survey on the first day of their workshops, at least 34 percent of girls thought “they should follow strict traditional and social restrictions during their period” and “most of them do not know how they can manage menstruation.” After graduating, “100 percent of girls have said that they have learned about menstrual health and hygiene management and will not follow any traditional and social restrictions.” And 95 percent of girls have said “they will share the learnings with other girls/women and collectively fight against the social taboo.”
But that is just the first phase of change. Through its workshops, Hamro Palo also offers participants the chance to direct small community grants to meet whatever needs they deem most essential. Many of the girls decided to use that funding to address menstruation taboos head on. They’ve upgraded their shared washroom so that they have a safe space during their periods and constructed a sanitary napkin disposal area. Why? Because in the girls’ own words: It is “our right to feel safe at home as well as in school.”