Santu Devi Pariyar who went against harmful cultural practices


My name is Santu Devi Pariyar. I am 35 years old. I live with my husband, three daughters, and two sons in Ward No. 9, Hattikot of Achham District. My husband is a teacher at Kalika Secondary School.

Being the wife of a teacher, I am frequently asked whether I stay inside the house during my periods. This is how I reply.

“I used to stay at Chaugoth [a secluded hut for menstruating girls and women] when I had my periods. But I have started staying inside the house for the past three months, even when I am menstruating.”

I remember those days when I stayed outside the house in Chaugoth with my children. They often got sick from the cold. Sometimes the Chaugoth was so crowded that there would be no place for us to sleep. I also did not use our household toilet during my periods.

I changed my practice and behavior gradually. How did this happen?

My husband participated in an orientation event on hygiene, sanitation, and Chhaupadi issues. The event was organized by SEBAC Nepal. The orientation was an eye opener for him. He realized that women should no longer stay in Chaugoths and that the menstruating women should never have to stop using toilets to relieve themselves.

Although he was a teacher, he had never asked me to stay inside the house when I had my periods. That orientation has really opened my husband’s eyes and his attitude towards Chaugoth has changed. It has been three months since I have started staying inside the house. All is well in my family. I have vowed that I will never stay in Chaugoth and will not allow my daughters to follow the harmful cultural practice.