Triratna Highlights

Supporting Girls’ and Women’s Rights to Reproductive Health in Nepal

On Tue, 26 July, 2022 - 19:27
Ananta's picture
Ananta

A little known area of the work of the Karuna network - the UK, Germany and the USA - is in supporting women’s reproductive rights and other basic rights. 

A common phenomenon across South Asia is a practice of periodically excluding girls and women from participating in their regular life, with no access to public areas. They are locked out of the house to sleep in stables or shacks. This often leads to hypothermia, respiratory illness, exposure to wild animals and to rape. As a result, maternal and infant mortality are high rates.

What could be deserving of such treatment? Around the biological function of menstruation. Girls and women are seen as impure during their menstruation cycle and so are shunned. Young mothers are also ostracized as impure for four weeks after giving birth. 

In western Nepal, where Karuna works to counter this humiliating practice, these customs are deeply rooted. 

Our work is to improve women’s health and decrease unfair treatment. It all starts with the girls and women themselves, and local people who hold positions of power. Through local partners, we help to empower girls and women to live safely and hygienically during their menstruation. Village communities, their religious and traditional healers, and mothers-in-law are encouraged to change their assumptions, attitudes and practices. Local health workers and administrators are trained to intervene and support the safety of women and girls. 

In doing all this, we strengthen the rights of girls and women to participate fully in school, work, and raising families. I am proud that we are giving these women and their children a chance for a safe and fulfilling life. 

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