This week’s post is not written by me. It is written by Thinley Wangmo Lama. It is going into my new book anyway. If you want to enjoy a renewed faith in humanity, check out this project and its very special administrator. Most of what we hear these days is about what is going wrong in the world. Here is proof that there are things going right. Asian women’s health, rights, equality, and an increased respect within their culture are all being addressed by this effort. A new phase of the project, women’s literacy training, is about to join the health effort. The men in these locations can already read and write. The women very much want to read and write but have not been given the opportunity to learn — until now. That fact alone sums up the pervasive problems. The following article sums up the solution. If you have already helped, bless you. If you want to help, whether by financial contribution or whatever other offering, the address is within the post. Also, feel free to contact me directly for more information. Whether you can help or not, read this for your own sake. It will make your heart happy to learn of this effort and meet the person making it.
Next week, more stories about life in Nepal and elsewhere.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for clicking the backlinks.
Be well. Love, Tenzin
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Journey with a Purpose to Limi Valley
Ecopad Project Limi Valley, Humla Nepal | Project Report
Objective:- Free Distribution Programme of Eco-Friendly Reusable Sanitary Pads in the remote village of Humla, Nepal — Limi Valley
Journey Date:- 15th September 2021 to 7th October 2021
Distribution Areas:- Limi Valley — Dhuling, Zang, Halji and Til
Participants:- Thinley Wangmo (Project Leader), Phurbu Doma (Limi Youth Society Vice President), and Jigme Dolma (Nurse)
Total Expenditure:- NPR 6,40,500/-
Women between 10–55 years: 171
Women above 55 years: 61
1. Distributed Eco Femme Reusable Sanitary Pads and cotton Underwear to 232 Limi Girls and Women
2. Taught correct way to use the ecopads and made sure they realized the importance of drying the pads out in the sunlight
3. Emphasized symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and hygiene measures during periods
4. Tackled menstruation shame and embarrassment
5. Raised their self-esteem and exhibited a positive attitude towards menstruation
6. Taught basic yoga exercises for lower back pain, knee pain, menstrual cramps and to enhance blood circulation to the reproductive system
7. Selected a volunteer from each village to monitor the project outcomes
The Distribution Journey
This journey with a purpose towards the mountain trails in northwestern Nepal’s Humla district was truly an experience of a lifetime. It is a different feeling when you work hard towards something and see it manifesting right in front of your eyes.
While planning the workshop, we were doubtful whether the women would participate openly or not. Not only did we get one hundred percent participation from the women in each village, but we also got excellent attention and two-way discussion during the workshop.
Sharing our knowledge, empathizing with the toughness of their village life, listening to stories that they normally would hesitate to share, and seeing the gratitude in their eyes made us blissful.
We had taken 500 underwear and 1500 ecopads for an estimated number of 250 women; 6 ecopads per woman. However, there were only 171 menstruating women in Limi Valley. So, we distributed the additional pads equally in each village. And we also gave underwear to the remaining 61 elderly women.
Learning and Reflections
We are happy to inform you that the initial response to the ecopads was wonderful.
The women liked the feel and quality of the ecopads from Eco Femme. They were amazed by the fact that they were receiving sanitary pads made of cotton and which can be reused for a few years.
• Were we able to convince them to wear Ecopads?
As per our survey, the majority of women above 35 years are using pads made from rags.
The majority of the younger women especially those below 30 years are mostly using disposable sanitary pads and sometimes pads made from rags.
The women either throw the disposable pads into the river or dump them into nearby lands. Although most of them regret this habit, they are left with little or no choice.
After understanding the environmental effect of their waste disposal method and the cost-effectiveness of the ecopads, all of them agreed to try out the Eco Femme Reusable Sanitary Pads.
Additionally, they agreed to offer their honest feedback to the selected volunteers after using the ecopads for a few months.
• What basic health and hygiene did we focus on?
We got a positive response when asked if they maintain the most basic yet important habit of washing hands. The younger school-going children even shared the experience of properly washing their hands with soap.
We gave examples of Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and how sharing their pain with their mother or family member can make their life easier.
We advised them to change the underwear daily and the ecopads after every 6–8 hours depending on the period flow.
• How did we tackle Period shame?
It is most difficult to change people’s perceptions. Similarly, we had a tough time addressing period shame and communicating the importance of talking about periods to men in a shame-free manner.
How could we make the women appreciate their body and the natural process of menstruation for childbirth when they believed that women are inferior due to periods? Some even complained that they have to spend additional expenses on daughters as they have to buy bras and sanitary napkins.
Initially, most of them went against talking to men about periods. But we emphasized to begin just one small change, to which the majority agreed- To stop period shame in their own family and talk freely with their father, brother, and husband about period-related topics to create a ripple effect in the entire community.
Collecting enough donations was no doubt the first challenge of the project. However, traveling to Limi Valley was the harder part of the project. Since the valley is located in the extreme remote part of Nepal, there is an issue of lack of transportation, unreliable road conditions. One cannot go with a fixed schedule and needs to be very flexible.
Sanitation facilities are inadequate in the entire Limi Valley and the lack of functional latrines in the houses can be difficult at times.
Our volunteers at the local level will take feedback and evaluate the project outcomes. If successful, we plan to distribute the next batch of EcoPads within 2–3 years. If not successful, we plan to visit Limi again to evaluate the situation.
When asked what other kinds of support the women require, surprisingly the majority of them showed interest in learning how to read and write.
The younger women were frustrated not being able to write their name neither in English nor in Nepali and having to sign official documents with their thumb impressions. The older women were interested in learning how to read Tibetan prayer scripts to be able to understand Buddhist Philosophy in depth.
• How do we plan to achieve this?
We realized that the Limi women were extremely busy with their household works, field works, and community-building works throughout the year except during winter.
So, a winter coaching session seems like a good idea. We want to start the first phase of teaching Buddhist prayers to interested women this coming winter.
Therefore, with the remaining donation amount, we will be starting the 2021 winter class in Halji with how to read Tibetan script.
Anyone interested to support this Limi Female Literacy Program, kindly mail me at email@example.com
Lastly, none of this would have been possible without our kind sponsors. Thank you to each donor for making a difference through your generosity.
Thank you all for supporting our project and the women of Limi Valley.
Follow our journey on Facebook: Team Ecopad
For our next phase of pad distribution, you can Make a donation through our GoFundMe platform: gf.me/u/zmgqi4
Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support.
The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.
If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story — and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!