The Patarasi Rural Municipality-2 Office in Jumla district has felicitated two local women along with their husbands for staying at home during their periods.
The felicitation program was a part of the Rural Municipality’s campaign of making it free from chhau goth (menstruation hut). Chhaupadi is a superstitious practice in the rural parts of western Nepal which forces menstruating women to live in animal sheds or makeshift huts known as chhau goth as the locals believe women menstruating and in their postnatal state are untouchable and impure.
Sauni Bohora along with her husband Kalu Bohora and Reuli Sarki with her husband Bire Sarki received certificates of appreciation from the Rural Municipality Office for becoming role models in the society.
The women did not stay at chhau goth during their menstruation all through the past year, as per officials. The Rural Municipality Office also honored their husbands for encouraging the women and creating an environment for them to stay at home during their monthly periods.
Laxman Bohora, Chairperson of the Rural Municipality Office, said the couples were honored for their exemplary work in supporting the local campaign.
The Rural Municipality is running the campaign with support from Sarvodaya Nepal wherein local menstruating women and shamans are put together and made aware about the importance of menstrual hygiene, which requires mentruators to have access to safe space, clean water, family support among other things.
The Rural Municipality has already declared Talfigaun, Pelegaun and Dhupgaun villages of Patarasi -2 as “mensuration-hut free”.
The locals believe that if a menstruating woman stays at home or eats things like milk, curd and ghee, the deities will get angry and curse the house.
Although the practice was declared social ill by the Supreme Court in 2005 and criminalized in 2017 with the newly enacted Criminal Code, the locals in the mid-western and far-western regions have continued unabated with the custom. Regardless of the three-month jail sentence or Rs 3,000 fine or both for anyone forcing a woman to follow the custom, Chhaupadi fails to be seen as a criminal offence by practicing family members.