Ganga Kumal stays at her home even during her menstruation


My name is Mathura Upadhya. I am 48 years old. I live in Ward No. 9 of Jalpadevi Bahuni Gaun. I live with my three daughters and a son. Due to our poor financial condition, my husband works in Mumbai. We manage our living for six months a year from our farming and harvest. But, for the remaining six months, my husband’s earnings support us to run our household.

“I am a Female Community Health Volunteer of my Ward. I report on the community-level progress made in health, sanitation, and hygiene to a health facility every month. I also provide them with information about child immunizations and what I learn on my advisory visits to the homes in my community.

I stay inside my house even when I have my periods. I have been following this new practice for the past two years. My menstruating daughter also stays inside the house. At the beginning, I was scared of the people around me. I was not sure they would support my decision.

Being a Brahmin, I pray regularly and change my clothes before a meal. Despite staying inside my house during menstruation, nothing wrong has happened to us. This is what I tell other community members too.

Previously, my brother-in-law used to ostracize me for staying inside the house and doing my chores during menstruation. I told him and other people that Chhaupadi practice is superstitious. It is a harmful tradition and a form of discrimination against women. My brother-in-law gradually became aware of this harmful practice. He started supporting me. Now he allows the female members of his family to stay inside the house when they are menstruating.

When I participated in the training provided by SEBAC Nepal on sanitation and hygiene, most of the participants had no toilet in their houses. I also did not have one. I decided to construct a toilet at my home, and I advocated for the community’s sanitation campaign. As a result, my Ward was also declared an Open Defecation Free area. Being a leader in the community, I feel that change should start from me.”