Girl students benefit from installation of pad vending machines in community schoolsThe school took the initiative from this academic session with the help of the municipality.
Teena Malla uses the sanitary pad vending machine installed in her school during her periods.
“These days, I don’t worry if I forgot to carry sanitary pads to school,” says the tenth grader at Dilpeshwor Secondary School in Dipayal Silgadhi, the district headquarters of Doti.
The dispenser machine has saved Malla and other school girls the trouble of running to the shop to buy pads during period emergencies.
Besides installing the card-operated sanitary pad vending machine, the school has also built a separate toilet and sanitation facility for girl students.
This initiative has benefitted the girl students, which reflects on their attendance rate, says Dirgha Bahadur Kathayat, the school’s headmaster.
“Fewer girls are missing their classes these days. This is due to the availability of sanitary pads and separate toilet facility in our school,” he adds.
The school has 801 students and 415 of them are girls.
Saraswati Kathayat, a ninth grader at the school, preferred to stay at home during her periods. She rarely misses her classes these days.
“Earlier, I felt uncomfortable going to school during periods because the boys and girls had to use the same lavatory. I have been to school regularly since the school set up the vending machine and the girl’s toilet,” says Saraswati.
The sanitary vending machine was installed in Dilpeshwor Secondary School as a pilot project of the local municipal government.
According to Municipal Mayor Manju Malasi, the project is being piloted in Dilpeshwor Secondary School, Padam Public School and Sunadevi Secondary School.
The municipality office has formed student groups in each school and given them the responsibility of handing out pad dispenser cards to those in need.
On May 4, 2019, President Bidya Devi Bhandari had announced that sanitary pads would be distributed to girl students of all community schools for free from the beginning of the current fiscal year.
During the budget speech of 2019/20, the federal government had allocated Rs 1.37 billion for community school sanitary pad distribution project in all 753 local units across the country.
The objective of the programme was to improve the school attendance rate of girl students.
A 2016 report of the UNICEF had shown that 15 to 22 percent of girl students from schools in Achham, Bajura and Parsa districts were missing a whole day of school due to menstrual discomfort, both physical and mental.