Sanitary packages Saptari Terai
Over the last few months, Saheen and I worked for a sanitary packages program in Saptari, Terai, Nepal. Last weekend was the moment to distribute over 400 sanitary packages in an information class on menstruation and hygiene, given by Saheen. We’ve done this in two different sessions.The first session was at a local public school where we could give more than 150 young students the necessary information on menstruation and hygiene and a sanitarian package. The students were excited about what they had learned and they were grateful for the package they had received. It was brought to our attention by the school coordinator that many of the students have infections or become ill, more often than in the past. The reason for this is that the water source is not clean enough. The amount of iron and different bacteria in the water is so high it’s not safe to use. This creates a difficult situation, since the distribution of sanitary packages and information on hygiene is important, but when the water that they must use is unsafe, the conditions for the student will not change. The Second session was in the community centre of the village, where we could give over 250 women a class on menstruation and hygiene and a sanitary package. Also here the information and package was receive with great enthusiasm. For this group, we should go back with more packages. The group of women was larger than we were expecting at first. Good to see that there’s so much interest in it.
Next to the sanitary program, there was much more to see and do. Local Women’s Handicrafts Nepal (LWHNepal) is developing a training facility for women in the Saptari region. Here, the women can learn new skills, have a job and create more stability for themselves and others. The centre consists of three different buildings of which two are as good as ready. The middle building and the largest of the three is in full construction. All buildings will have the necessary tools and machines as the basis for a fully functional workshop. The goal is to produce different types of handmade products, to sell in Kathmandu or in other countries. Saheen and I met with some of the women who already work for LWHNepal, these meetings gave me a good idea about how they work at LWHNepal and to what extent they improve the lives of their employees. LWHNepal makes a difference in many ways. By creating a safe environment for women in the community, they will not only help these women, but also their children and families. In addition, the awareness on Fairtrade clothing and handmade products which will change the lives of many child labourers and forced workers in the world.
The third and equally important project we have done is water resources, to find out if the water is clean or not. The goal is to place a water filter system on the premises of Local Women’s Handicrafts, which will not only help its residents and/or employees, but also their family and other people in the surrounding area. One of the most important basic needs of a human being is water. People can stay alive without food for almost 30 to 40 days, but without water one would only survive 2 to 3 days. When the source is contaminated and there is no resources to purify this, people must use unsafe water. A water safety test, performed in January in five different places, the coldest time of the year, revealed that even then the contamination was too high. Now on June 8th, our team retested the water on the exact same sites to see how the level was when the temperature is at its highest. High temperatures give bacteria free range to multiply and create a more dangerous situation. Also keep in mind, that in the warmest period, as we have in May, June and Juli, water is most needed compare to other periods in the year.
It was not my first time in the Terai for me. In My experience it is a region that needs support more over most others. Mainly because of the lack of basic needs such as clean water, health care and education. Although the resources are not in sufficient supply, the community seems to maintain its way of life to form a basis for family and society. By partnering with initiatives like Local Women’s Handicrafts, we have a strong foundation for improving these conditions for the population of this region. This past weekend was a beautiful, but also a confrontational experience. To see how much has already been achieved, but also how much remains to be done.
Foundation Creative Nepal