Can you imagine being banished to a hut for five days each month, unable to touch people, animals or even fruit and vegetables, just because you’re a woman?
This is the reality for many Nepalese women. In some regions, women are sent away to a cowshed when they menstruate because of a practice known as chhaupadi, which translates to “untouchable being”.
The practice means these women aren’t allowed to attend school, go to work, or live their day-to-day lives for an entire week each month.
The lack of hygienic protection due to these cultural norms and the lack of funds means that many women suffer from infections which then can lead to other health issues such as infertility, kidney complications, pelvic infections and worse.
Thankfully, last year the Nepalese government passed a law abolishing the traditional practice, which has seen women discriminated against for generations.
Friday the 17th of August this year (That’s tomorrow!) will see the new law implemented throughout Nepal.
But traditional practices run deep.
Without proper education and encouragement, many advocates for the ban fear the biggest challenge will be enforcing it.
That’s where the travel industry comes in. Exodus Travels, like many other fabulous responsible travel operators, believes in giving back to the communities that give so much to their travellers. That’s why they’re proud sponsors fo the Freedom Kit Bags Project.
The organisation holds educational sessions in hospitals and schools that provide eco-friendly, sustainable, hygienic sanitary wear to rural and low-income communities across Nepal; areas where many women are without access to disposable sanitary products.
Sessions teach girls, women and their husbands about sex education, healthcare and the importance of proper sanitation, while the bags help to offer women dignity and freedom of movement during a time which they have long been shamed for.
Exodus Travels has donated more than 1000 Freedom Kit Bags to rural communities across Nepal – and they are just getting started. The support of The Freedom Kit Bags Project is now more integral than ever.
Find out more about how you can help here.