Need to Know: These Nepalese Girls Just Documented the Solitude They Face While Menstruating

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The girls after completing the month-long photo workshop

Let’s have real talk: being on your period pretty much sucks. Even with all the ibuprofen, chocolate, cute tampons, and heating pads in world, it’s never fun when aunt flow comes to town.

But imagine if you had none of the above; If you had to go live away from your family each month, you have to sit separately from your family during meals,  and you have to clean out your reusable pads in isolated streams; If you didn’t even understand what was happening the first time you got your period.

That’s what Nepalese girls go through every month and now they have proof.

As part of WaterAid’s campaign, girls were given cameras for the first time to document all the things they were forbidden to use, and all the shame they must suffer.

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A photo taken by 14-yr-old Manisha of her used pads and the private stream where she must wash them.

WaterAid’s chief executive Barbara Frost told The Independent,

The silence and stigma that surround menstruation impinges on girls’ everyday lives. Furthermore, 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”

We can’t even imagine what it must be like for these girls. We’re so lucky in the United States to generally have access to disposable tampons and pads, access to medication, and to be able to menstruate without feeling the extreme shame put on you by your community. These things would be luxuries to any of these girls.

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Manisha with her collection of photos from the project

Sure, things aren’t perfect. We have this dumb tampon tax and menstruating is still taboo to talk about in public. But the mild embarrassment most middle class women in the Unites States experience is nothing compared to the shame thrust upon these young e girls.

Related: You Need to Know the Ingredients in Your Tampons

Barbara hopes to open up these topics of conversation around the globe and give a voice to girls who lack a platform.

“Being able to deal with periods in a hygienic and dignified way is crucial to women’s wellbeing. It helps women feel that they are able to play a full role in society, no matter what time of the month.”

You can learn more at the WaterAid website here.

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