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Celebs join hands to break menstrual taboos
6 November 2015-Friday

‘4 Days of Fun’, project implemented by MITRA Samaj, and supported by WaterAid, kicks off.

In order to create awareness regarding menstrual hygiene, and to break menstrual taboos among general people, especially adolescent girls, celebrities of Nepalingressed into the campaign “I am Against Menstrual Exclusion”, pledging toutilize their social networking sites, and public platforms, and disseminate information regarding the same, during a launching ceremony of ‘4 Days of Fun’, a project implemented by MITRA Samaj, and supported by WaterAid, organized at Hotel Radisson on November 6.

At the infotaining event, the celebrities not only shared their experiences regarding their menarche, and prevailing cultural practices that they have been following, but the celebrities brought their commitments into practice by updating their Facebookposts with the identical message, “I am Against Menstrual Exclusion, are you?”, and urged the attendees to do their best to discourage others from following long-followed discriminatory menstrual practices.

The attendees, including journalists, participated in interactive game, and expressed their opinions towards menstruations, and pronounced their support to create awareness regarding menstrual hygiene, and break taboos associated with it.

During the event, the organizersshared textual and pictorial messages regarding menstrual hygiene among the celebrities, who will be referring to the information in order to update their Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

Explaining the implementation modality of the project, Executive Director of MITRA Samaj Vivek Singh Thakuri, also a media personality said, “Each month, the project strives to sensitize different key influencers in the society, including teachers, parents, guardians, government functionaries, corporate tycoons and others, but through various infotaining engagements, that will be helpful in not only encouraging them to break the menstrual taboos but also educate others, especially adolescent girls.”

Detailing about the project, Mandira Maharjan, Project Coordinator, said, “Whilst this month, we are teaming up with celebrities, the next month, we will organize various competitions such as elocution contest, article writing competition and photo/selfie exhibition in 40 different schools in order to create awareness regarding menstruation among adolescent boys and girls. Similarly, in the third month, we will organize infotaining games among government functionaries in order to sensitize them regarding menstruation, and urge them to promote menstrual hygiene practices, and discourage menstrual taboos.”

Describing how the idea of the project evolved, Thakuri, revealing the findings of a research conducted by MITINI, an initiative of MITRA Samaj, said, “During menstrual period, 21 percent of adolescent girls miss their classes for an average of 4 days every 4 weeks, and the higher absenteeism among adolescent girls is highly responsible in derailing their educational attainment and ultimately, their empowerment. To ensure regular attendance, we initiated MITINI, an initiative that provides sanitary pads to adolescent girls for free of cost.”

Thakuri added, “MITINI places especially designed sanitary bins in various restaurants, INGOs, to collect used sanitary pads, and workers from MITRA Samaj will sterilize them using autoclave after its collection on alternate days. Service charges are used to purchase new sanitary pads for its free distribution among adolescent girls in need.”

Mitra Samaj projected its confidence that the campaign would bring about a revolutionary impact in the perception and acceptance of menstruation as the natural phenomenon, and that the general population will have an open conversation of the issues related to the menstruation.

The project/campaign ‘4 Days of Fun’ is funded by WaterAid, and implemented by MITRA Samaj, a non-government organization registered under government of Nepal, which is working to create awareness regarding menstrual hygiene practices.

Hotel Radisson supported the event as Hospitality Partner, and Safety Sanitary Napkin, as Hygiene Partner, provided sanitary pads, which were distributed during the event.

Miss Nepal World 2015 'Evana Manandhar' Message:

“I am proud to be a Nepali woman. True essence of being a complete woman is not only being able to empower herself but empower every women all across the world. Menstruation is a nature’s gift to create, nurture and transform a new life of mankind. To break the barriers and stigma associated with periods, it is essential to break the people’s belief that menstruation is ‘impure’. I want to discourage global people to continue following the conventional beliefs regarding menstruation through the platform of Miss World 2015,” says Evana Manandhar, who is going to Sanya, China on November 21, to participate in Miss World 2015 that is happening on December 19.

Celebrity Messages:

Message 1:

“Everyday approximately 88 lakh women and girls from 1 to 50 years of age in Nepal menstruate. The taboos have kept many people from knowledge they deserve to get. It is high time people came forward and speak openly about periods; Menstruation Hygiene Management being and urgent priority among girls and women.

Message 2:

“Absenteeism of menstruating girls is as high as 21% in schools in Nepal”. That amounts of 40 days annually. Girls are missing their right to education. Is this a choice WE have made?

Message 3:

“Women spend 6-7 years menstruating in their lifetime. So 6-7 years of Menstrual Taboo? 6-7 years of Bad Omen, Curse, Taboo, Danger and Impurity? In a country where Goddesses are worshipped and prayed, why are females treated like untouchables? It is time to get rid of the long held misinterpretation about the menstruation and teach the future generation the science behind it.

Message 4:

“Often the reason given in today’s time is that menstruating women are impure, unclean or dirty and hence need to be kept aside.” So now Am I supposed to continue being treated like an untouchable during my period, now that you have given reasons for these practices?

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