In 2016 and 2017 we continued to deliver Her Turn workshop in Sindhupalchok and Gorkha districts and for the 1st time delivered in the remote Jumla district. The overall average workshops attendance rate was 95%.
Jumla was heavily affected by Nepal’s civil war that ended in 2006 and suffers from high rates of poverty. Many communities have no access to health services, and 60% of children under 5 are malnourished, and girls are married off at young ages. In Jumla women and girls live under one of the strictest forms of menstrual restrictions—chhaupadi, forcing menstruating women and girls to stay in an outside hut or a cow shed—a practice that puts them at risk from animals, exposure, and violent attacks. Last year one 14-year-old girl died alone in a hut, in the extreme cold.
We conducted our workshop in Jumla between April and June with two trained local trainers and 40 participants—students of classes 7 to 10 of a local school. The workshop concluded on June 6th with a community ceremony. The girls gave speeches on various issues they considered important—violence, chhaupadi, and early marriage. The chief guests from the DEO made a speech on the need for commitment from the grassroots level to high-level agencies and networks to address girls’ issues.
My parents used to send me to a shed during my periods. My mentors told me about healthy habits and cleanliness. Because my parents are uneducated, it was difficult to convince them. It took time, but they finally agreed to my demands. Now they let me sleep in a clean room and they take good care of me. I am now more confident to speak up about my rights.—HT Participant, Jumla