junelinepal.wordpress.com/ Juneli Nepal is another long term project of Bring Thought
s to Action, facilitated mainly by Judith, a gynecologist from Germany alongside other Nepalese and foreign volunteers. This program is working on empowering the role of Nepalese girls and women to fight against gender-based issues in their society, from the sexual reproductive perspective. Their approach is by teaching women about health, hygiene, the female body, menstruation and women’s rights – so to improve the perception about their own body and give up on outdated ideas of cultural habits. Under this project, the girl-children and women are also taught on how to sew reusable menstruation pads.
Couple of days ago, we followed Judith, Anjala and Ashim to Ramche, Sindhulpalchok to assists them with the workshop and to film the workshop for the series of videos we are making for BTTA. We went on a local bus, which was really entertaining and the journey from Kathmandu to the hillside village, which was supposed to take only 2 hours at the most, took up nearly 4 hours as the bus keep stopping like every 15 minutes or so to drop/pick-up passengers.
Sindhulpalchok was hit pretty badly during the last earthquake – it is one of the epicentre of the quake, so we saw a lot of collapsed houses and destruction along the way too, which is very heartbreaking. but it is amazing to at the same time, witness the strong spirit of the Nepalese people.
On a personal level – I also witnessed something really mind-blowing. A mother was breast-feeding her child openly in a public bus, a sardine-packed public bus! And i looked around and saw no one, no man or woman or boys which were around her, ogling at her bare breast or anything like that! I seriously cant believe it that at all places, I would experienced this moment in Nepal. Thinking about the recent earthquakes and what I witnessed in the bus brought me to tears. Ozzie asked me why I was crying but I didn’t tell him then cos I don’t want it to be obvious.
The workshop started slow with only 10 people but ended up with almost 40 women and girl-children sewing their own menstruation pads and learning about the bodies and the menstruation cycle. Because this is a project run completely by volunteers, without any big funding (yet) and very less resources – we only had 1 small sewing machine to start with. At some point, the machine kinda gave up on us but these women and girls were so talented and amazing that at the end – everyone was hand-stitching their own pads 🙂
For a pilot project, this is definitely a success and the group did an amazing job. Salute to BTTA!
To read more about the project, you can read Judith’s blog – junelinepal.wordpress.com/
Oh, and on the way back, we hitch-hiked a 4-wheel truck, were sitting at the back and enjoyed the freshness of the cooling mountain air but also really did our backs lah 😛