One part of CCF’s mission is to promote access to skills development so that marginalized individuals in Nepal can create economically viable communities. CCF also strives to address and resolve issues that are barriers to the education of girls. With these goals in mind, CCF launched the Menstrual Pad Project (MPP) in February of 2015. The goal being to create jobs by training women in the rural village of Baseri to sew reusable menstrual pad kits that they could sell to generate income and that CCF could purchase and distribute to rural and low income girls. Many girls in Nepal often miss 4 days of school per month do to their period because they do not have menstrual supplies. These kits would allow girls to stay in school while they are menstruating. It was decided that the first recipients of the menstrual pad kits should be the 100+ girls receiving the Power of 5 educational stipends at ACP. We felt that CCF could sponsor the construction of 200 kits and provide them to a program that was already working with and providing education to girls in need.
Awesome Without Borders
Using resources provided by the Days for Girls project and our valuable connections with the community of Dhadagaun in Baseri, CCF sought and received a $1,000 grant from the non-profit Awesome Without Borders. We estimated that to launch this program we would require $2,000 and began fundraising for the effort.
In March of 2015 CCF board members travelled to Nepal and purchased 2 treadle sewing machines to transport to Baseri. CCF board members had carried to Nepal special absorptive fabrics purchased from Days for Girls in the US and purchased flannel fabrics for the kits that would be donated to the program.
On April 23, 2015 the two women chosen from Baseri traveled to Kathmandu and were housed at ACP’s facility. Then on April 25, two days after they arrived to get their training the 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The clinic in Baseri where the sewing machines had just recently arrived (and had yet to be unpacked) was completely destroyed and the women’s training at ACP was cancelled due to the the devastation wrought by the earthquake. Luckily the sewing machines were on the 2nd floor of the clinic and were still packages so were not destroyed. The treadle and table part were in the lower part of the clinic and completely destroyed. The women at ACP were safe but the whole project was put on hold until Nepal could rebuild.
While in Nepal, CCF board members also interviewed Harimaya Gurung about the possibilities of taking a leadership role in Nepal to make the project happen. She would be given a small stipend by CCF for her work. Harimaya was chosen because of her strong connection with the villagers of Baseri, her commitment to the work of the Baseri Clinic and her understanding of the value of the concept of providing menstrual supplies to rural and low income girls.
In mid-March the CCF team, along with Harimaya transported the two sewing machines to Baseri and Harimaya made a presentation about the project to the village committee. The committee was very excited about the idea and 2 women were chosen to be the village leaders. They were to receive training by ACP in Kathmandu on how to sew the kits and then return to the village and provide training to others.
Harimaya Gurung still has the funds and fabrics CCF left with her in 2015 and is ready to help re-launch the project as soon as the community in Baseri and the trainers at ACP are ready. She still has a great interest in leading this project and has been working with Rotary clubs in Nepal distributing menstrual pad kits to gain further experience. CCF will begin to look at re-launching this project in 2017.
Menstrupedia Comic Books!
In the fall of 2017 CCF purchased 120 copies of the amazing comic book Menstrupedia. Already translated into Nepali, Menstrupedia aims to end the menstruation myth in culturally sensitive ways and to empower girls by opening up the conversation and helping develop language to address the topic. CCF is currently raising money to purchase these books to help educate Nepali girls and their mothers at ACP. While in Nepal in October of 2017, CCF board members were able to distribute some at the rural school in Ghat Besi and to the women health care workers at the Baseri Health Clinic.