Outreach and church Ministries Nepal (OAC Ministries Nepal)
Menstruation practices in far west Nepal
Many Nepalese women face a discriminatory practice during their menstruation, popularly known as Chhaupadi practice. In the Far-West, adolescent girls and women are confined in a small hut (‘chhau hut’) or livestock quarters, as they are considered impure. The chhaupadi practice is a social tradition that prevents women from participating in normal family or communal activities during their menstruation. A similar practice is prevalent during childbirth and for the following 11 days or so (with obvious health risks). Many women believe that if they don’t follow these practices, their families will blame them for all harm that may befall them or their livestock.
The duration and harshness of the chhaupadi varies geographically (but is more pronounced in the Far West Nepal districts), and is often coupled with other traditional practices (related to diet during periods and pregnancy, such as avoiding milk products) which have an adverse impact on the health and nutritional status of reproductive aged women and girls. One of the main concerns for any WASH-related project is that menstruating women are not allowed to use the same water resources and sanitation facilities as other family or community
members, which can result in poor and unsafe personal hygiene.
The conditions of the chhaupadi huts are very basic in most cases (see photos below). Rather than being an opportunity to rest and have quality time with other women, they can even be dangerous. We have witnessed cases of disabled women dying alone in the huts (eg. one last year who suffered an epileptic fit and kicked the fire, leading to serious burns and death). Some women have also been raped while isolated.
That’s not to say that all women object to using them. During the Maoist insurgency, many chhaupadi huts were destroyed under duress. However, in some areas women have reverted to build and use the huts again. Some women have commented that they feel uncomfortable staying with the house for religious reasons,
Pray for Nepal!
Floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains in the past three days have killed at least four people and submerged over two thousand houses in three districts of western Nepal.
Two persons were killed yesterday in Kailali district and one each in Doti and Kanchanpur districts, according to the police.
Around 2,500 houses were submerged in dozens of villages in the districts due to the incessant rains. Roads were blocked in various parts of far-west Nepal following heavy rains on Wednesday and Thursday.
In a separate incident, two people were killed due to snake bite in Sunsari district of eastern Nepal.
In Darchula district in far-west Nepal, the flooded Mahakali river swept away three houses at Bangabagar yesterday, while dozens of houses on the river bank risk flooding.
Meanwhile, continuous landslides have obstructed the flow of water of Budhi Gandaki river in Gorkha district, 200 km west of Kathmandu.
The settlements along the river banks have been shifted to higher lands. Police Inspector Rabindra Khanal said the water flow in the river has increased by 40 per cent.
Some 20 temporary shelters have been swept away by the landslides, according to a local resident.
(August 12th, 2015)