Women of Dupalt Tole of Mellekh Rural Municipality-7, Nandegada of Achham demolishing Chhaupadi sheds. Photo: Khamma Khatri/Republica
ACHHAM, April 4: In order to end the traditional ill practice of Chhaupadi, women in Nandegada, Mellekh-7 of Achham have started demolishing the menstrual huts where they were compelled to stay during their periods.
Of late, women have understood that a woman must not be abandoned or banished from home during menstruation as it is a natural cycle. Staying in Chhaupadi sheds was always a safety concern for the women in the district. Many had to go through various kinds of violence and some even lost their lives in such sheds. That has compelled the women here to demolish all five Chhaupadi sheds of the village. With this, they have started living in their own homes during their periods, according to local woman leader Putali Devi Khatri.
On Monday, almost all women of the village gathered in Patakani and demolished all the huts used by women during their menstruation. Putalidevi has suggested the women to stay in their homes maintaining hygiene during menstruation. This has been possible also because the government has criminalized the Chhaupadi practice. The family practicing Chhaupadi is deprived of the services provided by the ward and rural municipality offices.
As per the announcement of the government, those who practice Chhaupadi after August 20 will be jailed. This is expected to play a major deterrent against the ill-practice. Earlier, it was believed that if a menstruating woman stays home she will make the gods angry.
A few months ago, Gauri Budha of Turmakhad had lost her life in a menstrual hut. Last year, Roshani Tiruwa, 15, of Gajra died in a menstrual hut. In November last year, Dambara Updhyaya, 26, of Timilsen was found dead in her menstrual hut on the fourth day of her periods. Dambara had gone to bed after working all day in her field along with her family. Next day, when she didn't wake up till late, her family members went to the shed and found her dead.
As per the records of Women and Children Office, Achham, a total of 12 women have lost their lives in Chaupadi sheds in the last one decade. Women in the rural parts refuse to eat a healthy diet during menstruation due to various stigmas. This doesn't just affect their health but also affects the health of their little children.