What are the things you avoid when you get your period?
White pants? Uncomfortable clothes? Getting out of bed in general because you know you’ll have to smile through the pain of your cramps around the general population?
If you nodded along to all of the above, then take a moment and spare a though for young women living in Nepal.
Every month, these girls are separated from their friends and family and have to follow a strict set of rules while they are menstruating. Because in Nepal, girls are considered to be ‘contaminated’ and ‘impure’ while they are on their periods.
You can watch the ten ‘most awkward’ period dramas from WaterAid below. The video was made to create awareness for International Menstrual Hygiene Day which was on May 28th. Post continues after video.
During this time, a western-Nepalese hindu tradition called Chhaupadi, they aren’t allowed to touch fruit or flowers, stay in their homes or even look at the sun. They cannot eat fruit, dairy, meat or produce for fear of contamination and they aren’t allowed to have any interaction with their family for 6-10 days.
Yet, seven teenage girls from a small town 130 kilometres southeast of Kathmandu have decided to fight back, by documenting all the things they aren’t allowed to do.
You can see all the images of the things the girls can’t do in the gallery below. Post continues after gallery.
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The restriction on what the women are allowed to touch comes from the notion that whatever they touch while ‘impure’ will be tainted with bad luck.
“I stayed at someone else’s house during my first period. I wasn’t allowed to go to school and, on top of that, I wasn’t allowed to even read a book. It was a wrong belief that we shouldn’t study during menstruation,” 14-year-old Manisha told The Independent.
“The silence and stigma that surround menstruation impinges on girls’ everyday lives," WaterAid, who provided the girls with cameras to document their experience, CEO Barbara Frost said.
"When there are no safe, private toilets in schools, girls often skip school during their period, or drop out of school altogether once they reach adolescence. With nowhere hygienic to clean sanitary pads or wash, women and girls also risk infection”
It's a hard situation to imagine, being away from your family for a third of the year with so many restrictions. Yet, it's a sad reality for thousands of young women.