Photos Changed Minds About Periods In This Nepali Village

The photos were part of a charity project, which appear to have changed daily life for some women in the village.
Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 31, 2017

These young women took photos to show the taboos of periods in Nepal. And now, they're starting to see changes in their village.

"We might not bring about change overnight. But we will teach our younger sisters about menstruation since we hope they will not face the same troubles or problems we faced. We will also discuss with our parents at home so that youngsters would not have to face troubles related to menstruation," student Sushma Diyali said.

Menstruating in Nepal can be seen as "impure." So even some daily activities are off-limits each month.

One ritual in Nepal includes "menstruation huts" — or places where women are forced to go while menstruating. Several girls died in these huts; the news made international headlines.

So last year, young women there took pictures of what they couldn't do because of their periods, such as sleeping in their homes, looking in the mirror or even eating fruit.

"When our parents took us to other houses during menstruation in the past, they used to tell us that we should not sleep on the bed, so we had to sleep on the floor sometimes, we had to face such troubles then. We were told to take a bath before sunrise, not to comb our hair, which used to make us feel bad. They do not forbid us from going anywhere now, apart from god's place (the temple). We can go to the kitchen and the bedrooms now. I am happy to know that this much change could happen in one year," student Sabina Guatam said.

U.K. charity created the photo project to start conversations in the village. 

Some period taboos even prevent women from getting an education or having good hygiene.

"There used to be no toilet in our school, no place to change our pads, and no place to dump or burn them. There was no systematic toilet. We could not go to the toilet alone because the door had no hinge, so a person had to stand guard outside while somebody was using the toilet. A change has occurred after one year. Toilets have been constructed. There is proper place for pad changing, dumping and burning now," Diyali said.

These young women made strides in their own village. But easing the stigma of menstruation across Nepal will take time.