घर !

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मैले रोपेको ति फूलहरु,
ति हासेर हिड्ने गल्लीहरु,
बुवाको मन्द मुस्कान,
अनि मलाई हेर्ने ति आँखाहरु,

चराको चिरबिरमा अडिएको मेरो खुशीहरु,
ति कहिले नथाक्ने आशाहरु,

अनि मेरा अनगिन्ति सपनाहरु

अझै ताजा छन् ति यादहरु!

Red is the color!

I still recall myself as a sixth grader, red ribbon cascading on my oiled hair, with my very favorite white skirt. So young, when first encountered with blood I thought I had dysentery. When asked to ama( mother) she slammed a piece of rugged clothes in my hand and said “Nani ta nachune bhais”. [You are menstruating]. Apparently, she pulled me in hustle, took me inside my brother’s room.  I remember it was dark and creepy.

That is when menstruation came with line of restrictions. “Do not touch the kitchen and worshiping area. Stay away from your father” and please behave like a lady. You’re grown up now!

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I had to stay inside a dark room for twelve continuous days. What hit the most is that for all these days I will not be able to see my father or any male members of my family. And the deepest pain was not being able to step outside the room. I asked her several times, what the restriction was for? But all in vain. The crippling sensation running deep in my entire body, the red blood was a sin. The same red blood that represents me as a woman.

In a fit of rage, I would enter inside kitchen and touch everything that ama restricted. It would be ending up eating savory pickles from refrigerator, singing along and touching everything that ama restricted. My first period lasted for four days. Second time when I menstruated I kept it a secret. It was just a normal day for me. I woke up went to the kitchen and did whatever I liked. And when it was dark I couldn’t stop myself from hiding. When everybody knew I was on periods and touching everything, it turned out to be a most heated debate and continuous to be even I am 28.

I would here like to share a conversation with a very close friend of mine few months ago. Both of us are friends since our college days and married off lately. We discussed on how speaking up against menstruation is difficult once you’re married. It isn’t the same when you yelled with your mother for making you do some outlandish and inconvenient activities. I left wondering about the barriers and bars kept in the lives of women and the expectations that remain.

 I disowned the whole culture of menstrual restrictions since my childhood itself because my body is my right and no culture, laws and country can ever change it.  Nothing ever changed though! But, at least I spoke against it. Every woman and girl should have the rights to own their bodies. Why consider red blood a sin and perceive it as a misfortune? It is important that women take this a pride, bloods are beautiful and it can never deem your confidence.  It is time to smash barriers from the bottom line. Let us take menstruation as a common phenomenon, embrace it; I know it is difficult to speak up as the culture so intrinsically linked to religion. But let us start a conversation and let there be no shy!

See more at: http://www.redelephantfoundation.org/2016/05/red-is-color.html

#menstruationmatters #redispower #smashbarriers

Nepal Earthquake 2015: Damages and losses in the Water and Sanitation sector

Pragya Lamsal

10481582_10102185393510681_3431946467229818161_nOn Saturday, 25 April 2015 at 11:56 local time, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake as recorded by Nepal’s National Seismological Centre (NSC), struck Barpak, about 76 km northwest of Kathmandu. Government records said that there are over 8,790 casualties and 22,300 injuries. Further, the government has estimated that the lives of eight million people, almost one-third of the population of Nepal, have been impacted by these earthquakes.

National Planning Commission, an advisory body for formulating development plans and policies in Nepal, released Nepal Earthquake 2015: Post Disaster Needs Assessment Executive summary on Friday (June 19, 2015). Among others, the summary has calculated major damages and losses in Water and Sanitation sector.

It is estimated that the total value of disaster effects (damages and losses) in water and sanitation sector caused by the earthquakes is NPR 11,379 million (NPR 10,506 million of losses and NPR 873 million of damages)

The report said that the deterioration of water and sanitation services, disruption of schools and health services, and the possible increase in food insecurity may lead to a bigger impact on multidimensional poverty. Further the report states:

The destruction of water supply and sanitation facilities will have a direct negative impact on women and girls as they will now have to fetch water from greater distance. The work burden on women, and the disproportionate cost borne by them in the household economy, not only limits the time they can spend in economic activities but restricts them spatially and culturally to activities that are compatible with their domestic obligations.

Here’s a link to the executive summary of Post Disaster Needs Assessment: http://www.npc.gov.np/web/new/uploadedFiles/allFiles/PDNA-excutiveSummary.pdf

Email: lamsalpragya@gmail.com

Water for sustainable development

 Pragya

Pragya Lamsal

World Water Day is marked on 22 March every year, reminding us of the importance of water for the sustenance of life on earth. “Water and Sustainable Development” is the theme for the global community participating in the World Water Day this year.

This year’s theme encourages the government and policymakers to consider a framework for water resource management that will lead to sustainable development. It also highlights the role of water resources to make a difference in the lives of people suffering from water related issues.

The theme is very relevant as the governments around the world are heading toward a post-2015 development agenda which is expected to prioritize the sustainable development issues.

So, what is the major role of water in the sustainable development agenda? UN Water states that the water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihood of billions of people around the world.

In this article, I will focus on what access to safe water means to the population suffering from the scarcity of water in Nepal.

School goers, mostly girls, miss early classes in the various parts of the country as they have wait in queue to fetch water from local resources.  It has lowered the chances of these school goers attending classes regularly.

UN Water data shows that on average women in developing nations spend 25 percent time of their day collecting water for household usage. Women would be able to spend their time in income generating activities if access to water is ensured. This clearly suggests that increasing access to water means creating more chances of employment opportunities for women.

– See more at: http://setopati.net/opinion/5939/Water-for-sustainable-development/#sthash.4HsHX8W4.dpuf

SAARC Leaders to Act on Human Rights to WASH to Ensure Dignity of Marginalized People

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Photo: WaterAid Nepal

23 November 2014: Right to Sanitation Campaign in South Asia calls on 18th SAARC Summit to advocate that SDG process should include dedicated goal for realization of human rights to water and sanitation for all.

It also calls to SAARC Governments to develop and implement on regional framework of action for immediate realization of human rights to water and sanitation for all in South Asia. They urged for protection of people’s control over water resources and curb privatization of water resources and services.

The calls came out at a side event of People’s SAARC at Jwalakhel Staff College on Sunday. At the programme, people from across the region shared their pain and experiences on the issue. Continue reading “SAARC Leaders to Act on Human Rights to WASH to Ensure Dignity of Marginalized People”