Bajhang, November 24, 2016:Â Women from Gairagaun of Sainapasela VDC in Bajhang have joined hands against Chhaupadi, a tradition in which women in their menstruation and post-natal periods are kept in a seclusion, away from their homes, as they are considered unsanitary.
They had formed a womenâ€™s group named â€œJanajagaran Mahila Samuhaâ€ and conducted a campaign in the village against Chhaupadi for the last two years.
Keladi Devi Chunara, chairperson of the womenâ€™s group, said they stopped practising Chhaupadi in the village as they faced many troubles while living in Chhaupadi sheds.
â€œSome of us first took the initiative against Chhaupadi by remaining at our homes during menstruation. Slowly, other women followed,â€ said Chunara.
Harikala Damai, one of the members of the womenâ€™s group, said many women were initially doubtful about abandoning the tradition.
â€œIt took them some time to accept and support our campaign. These days, they stay at their homes during their periods,â€ she said.
Women have also started to demolish Chhaupadi sheds as part of the campaign.
Dhiru BK, 51, said she suffers from swollen feet because she spent years following the Chhaupadi tradition.
The shed where she spent days in isolation during menstruation is no longer today. She pulled down the shed herself.
â€œI am glad that my daughters and daughters-in-law will not have to face the problems that I did because of Chhaupadi tradition,â€ she said. The women also have given up the diet regimen associated with Chhaupadi that excluded meat and dairy products.
â€œItâ€™s not impossible to change the traditional belief. Our activities have not enraged the deities by our action and we are now living happily,â€ Shanti BK, who remembers surviving only on rice and salt while observing Chhaupadi.
The movement against Chhaupadi started by the Gairagaun women is catching on in other villages as well.
ByÂ Basanta Pratap Singh