APR 23, 2012 DAILEKH – Chhaupadi is a tradition in which women are asked (forced) to live in a cow shed or on a hut during their menstruation period which a man even from the family should not she her and she should not even see the rising sun. Until some years ago, Amrita Buda of Lakandra VDC-9 in the district of Dailekh and other women around far western Nepal would strictly follow the Chhaupadi custom.
She also has a bad experience of battling death after being bitten by a snake while observing the tradition during her menstruation. However, Buda is against the tradition now and has joined a campaign to make people aware of the bad aspects of the tradition.
“Women reluctant to follow the tradition are subject to punishment. However, I am spreading awareness about its bad aspects,” said 49-year-old Buda.
Local women said there were also instances, in which women suffering from various ailments such as stomach pain and headache would see witch a doctor, who would recommend them to strictly follow the Chhaupadi tradition, saying that such illnesses were a result of not following it.
However, such superstition is on the wane with the campaign involving 36 women launched in Sattla, Sigaudi and Lakandra VDCs with the help of an INGO. And the campaign has worked. Local people have started destroying huts made for women to stay during their menstruation.
Rupa BK of Lakandra VDC-4 demolished a chhaupadi hut and constructed a toilet in its place. “I believe that constructing a toilet in place of a Chhaupadi hut is a better idea and it will do good to the society,” she said.
Sigaudi VDC secretary Ganeshman Singh said that the practice of barring women from touching food items and other household materials and barring them from entering a room housing clan deities during their menstruation period is on the decline as a result of the campaign.
Not only women, men are also supportive of the campaign. A woman activist Radha Malla said all should unite to support and encourage such programmes to root out such traditions.
Illiterate family and Local long preserved so called tradition which made women a second class member of the family itself should be eradicated and the good aspects of personal hygiene and education to the girls are likely to be the next agenda for those working NGO’s In far-western Nepal.