“Girls in rural areas often face more problems than girls in the city,” says 23-year-old Sajana Kergi. “For example, when they’re menstruating they might have to stay at home and not touch any kitchen materials, or have to drop school.
“It varies from family to family, but generally the more traditional and superstitious a family is, the more problems a girl will have.”
For the past two years, Sajana has been volunteering as a peer educator and mentor for the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), since hearing about the programme on Facebook. After an orientation and training programme, she visited different rural schools to give girls training on menstruation management. She now runs classes in schools in and around Bhaktapur.
The classes aim to create a relaxed environment for young people to talk and learn about sexual health and rights. This fills a major gap in their learning and knowledge, Sajana says. “At school, these subjects are in the curriculum, but teachers skip these lessons and don’t talk about these issues openly,” she explains. “The teachers don’t create a comfortable environment, and this makes students hesitant to talk about these issues, so there’s no proper knowledge.”
FPAN classes are an opportunity for young people to speak openly about sexual health and sexuality therefore are vital.