Tue. Oct 15th, 2019

Raising awareness on menstruation and tackling this taboo

University of Hong Kong

Bidhya Shrestha is working with a mission to change the traditionally held prejudice regarding marginalized women in the underdeveloped as well as developing countries.

She said that most of the women coming from privileged backgrounds simply assume that in some countries, women of color are uneducated and desperately in need of a voice to help them, what they don’t realize is that these women do have a voice, all that needs to be done is to listen to them.

Shrestha was born and also raised in Hong Kong, and is currently studying having gender studies as her major at the University of Hong Kong. Earlier in 2019, the 22-year-old Shrestha formed the non-profit organization called Aama Ko Koseli, with aims of empowering marginalized women.

She said that the name basically meant the token of love of a mother. She said that she wished to bridge the social division present between the women of developed countries and those from the third-world countries.

The first major project of the organization was a documentary that was called Project Untouchable Goddesses which has the goal of removing the taboo of menstruation, the normalizing of the discussion on this topic and showing that women living in developing countries were informed on issues like the menstrual hygiene.

For her project, Shrestha along with other members of her organization visited the Tatapani village located in western Nepal for raising menstrual awareness and also distributing chemical-free reusable pads which would last for two years for each woman.

One major area where they focused was the ongoing tradition of chhaupadi which looks at menstruating women and girls that are deemed “impure” and hence separated from their families and village life. These girls are banished in to huts, usually a livestock shed, where they were forbidden from touching other objects and people.