While it feels like issues related to women’s rights, especially in terms of ownership of their health is a political topic in may parts of the world, I decided to take a closer look a recent program conducted by the foundation through our Moms Club, which filled me with so much pride.
Most recently, to celebrate World Health Day on 8th of April, the Rukmini Foundation Mom’s gathered with them, the women in their community and Rukmini scholars, at Sikhapuri School with the determination to learn something useful.
Proclaimed to be “an educational training every woman should have so they can better take care of themselves and their health” by Mom’s club member Sanu Kanchi member, this event had guest educators Radha Gyawali and Nabina Basnet take stage to educate the participants about important feminine hygiene practices, signs of ovarian and breast cancer, importance of healthy diet, etc. With a focus on enabling women to proactively participate in their own health and welfare, this RF Mom’s club event took a stand for women’s health and wellbeing, a stance we hope ripples into the whole nation with time.
For many of the gathered women, it was a new concept to look within and consider their own physical health and were encouraged greatly to actively seek out information and help from medical practitioners when they were unsure about something.
Furthermore, the group took this opportunity to talk about different aspects of healthy living like the food we eat, cultural hygiene habits, and the sanitary options available in our society. The women talked with the educators and among themselves about different ways they could take care of their own health and about approaching their medical practitioners with more openness regarding feminine health issues.
I believe RF Mom Shanta Sunar summed the group emotions perfectly when she said she had not given thought to how a small infection or a casual disregard can potentially cause long term health issues in women; and it was time to take care of themselves so they could contribute to a healthier community.
For the second half of the event, Educator Radha Gyawali got the participants in a group and taught them how to sew homemade, chemical-free, reusable sanitary pads. As they worked the participants also discussed the benefits of the homemade reusable sanitary pads vs the store bought mass-produced napkins from financial personal health and environmental perspectives, Radha also instructed the women about proper care and procedure to clean and sanitize the napkins.
Among the group of 20, five participants, RF scholar Smriti Balami and mom’s club members Shobha Maharjan, Sanukanchi Rumba, Muna Maharkan, Ramita Maharjan, and Bimala Balami showed exceptional skill with the sewing machine and were gifted with fabrics to make sanitary napkins and help other members out as they learned how. This new skill, the educators promoted, could also be a way to earn financial independence as the women could get together to make enough sanitary napkins to supply to the women in their community.
While the politics around the world changes with heavy implications on women’s rights, women’s health and autonomy, we at the Rukmini Foundation with the support of our members take a step each day towards empowerment and independence, well-being and education of our mothers and daughters. We will celebrate womanhood, health, and education while supporting each other become stronger, independent and confident in our lives. We hope our small steps to this end each day will one day be a giant leap towards an empowered nation and world.