High up in the mountains of central northern Nepal, not far from the Tibetan border, lies the district of Rasuwa. The people here are mainly ethnic Tamang and Sherpa, two indigenous groups with cultural traditions stretching back centuries. But these rich cultural traditions can come hand-in-hand with severe social problems, compounded by entrenched poverty and very low literacy rates.
“People used to shout at me when I was distributing condoms. They called me many bad things.” Rita Chawal recalls her time as a family planning youth volunteer for the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), Nepal’s largest family planning organisation, running classes on sexual health, safe abortion and contraception.