Students at the Gyanodaya High School in Kathmandu do not have to worry about getting their periods while in class, forgetting to bring sanitary pads, or even skipping school for a few days every month. The school has installed a vending machine for its 1,300 female students and 75 female staff which will provide a napkin after dropping a Rs 1 coin, but the users have to pay Rs 5 to the school for the added cost.
The students in Grade 6 or 7 who get their periods for the first time, often while in school, are the ones who are going to benefit the most from the vending machine, the first sanitary pad vending machine in Nepal, and Gyanodaya has established itself as a menstruation-friendly school.
The school, whose students achieve one of the highest pass rates in SEE exams in the country, expects the girl students to do much better in class now that they don’t have to worry about their periods so much.
“We used to face hassles when we would forget to bring pads, and it was troublesome to borrow from classmates, we used to have to leave school and go home,” now we don’t have to worry about it anymore,” says Ganga Sapkota, a student.
Principal Natikaji Maharjan, who also teaches science at the schoool, says the curriculum places a priority on studying reproductive health so as to remove the taboos and superstition surrounding menstruation.
He says this is a pilot project, and the school hopes to set aside a budget for free distribution of the pads from next year. “It will help in spreading awareness about mestruation as being a natural biological process,” he says.
From the Nepali Press
Shanti Tamang in Setopati.com, 14 Feburary
Full story in Nepali here.