Free sanitary pad distribution helps improve attendance among girls in Sindhuli schoolUnder the One School, One Nurse programme, girl students in Janajyoti Secondary School have been receiving reproductive health counselling.
Nikki Bamjan, a 10th grader of Janajyoti Secondary School in Sindhuli, hasn’t missed a single day of school of late. She used to skip school during her menstruation in the past, but these days, she goes to school regularly.
Since the school started providing sanitary pads to girls free of cost and constructed separate toilets for boys and girls with proper sanitation facilities, school attendance rate of girls like Bamjan has seen a marked difference.
“I used to leave for home in a hurry when my period started. Then I wouldn’t come to school for the duration of my cycle because the school didn’t have separate utility area for girls,” said Bamjan.
Anu BK, a 10th grader, said she too would prefer staying home during her period given the inconvenience she had to face at school.
“But these days, I don’t feel uncomfortable. Earlier we wouldn’t even talk about menstruation, but now with the changes the school has brought about, we don’t feel shy about it. I’m also helping my juniors during their periods,” BK said.
Underscoring the effectiveness of the ‘One School, One Nurse’ programme initiated by the Province 3 government, Bhim Bikram Thapa, the school headmaster, said the availability of sanitary pads in schools has opened up conversations about menstruation among girls, which has in effect removed the discomfort and hesitation that came with the topic.
“The government has arranged for a medical nurse at the school. Our girls can now talk to the nurse about their reproductive health, and I think that has helped girls cope with their life at school,” Thapa said.
Out of 1,200 students at the school, 700 are girls.
“Initially, the girls would hesitate to ask for sanitary pads or even bring one to school, but now they don’t hesitate,” said Sandhya Dhakal, the school’s nurse.
The school had started the One School, One Nurse programme from December 2018. According to Thapa, the programme has been a success at his school with absenteeism among students not a concern anymore.
“The nurse has been providing emergency medical services and reproductive health and sex education to students,” said Thapa.