Kathmandu starts drive to provide sanitary pads to students of all community schools in cityA total of 14,810 girls will benefit from the scheme, for which the city has released Rs 14.9 million to all its wards.
Sixteen-year-old Khushi Joshi now feels big relief. She is glad that her school has started providing sanitary pads for free to all female students.
“There were days when I couldn’t attend classes during my periods, ” said Joshi who completed her Secondary Education Examination from Gyanodaya Secondary School, Bafal. She lives in Kalanki with her parents and two siblings and plans to enroll in class 11 at the same school.
“If the campaign continues, I am sure my six-year-old sister will not face problems I faced during my school days,” she told the Post.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s drive to provide free sanitary pads to all community schools in the city began on Tuesday, and it is likely to bring smiles on the faces of hundreds of girl students such as Khusi who had to go through difficult times during their periods. The city has announced that it will provide free sanitary pads to all its 91 community schools under its jurisdiction.
According to the Education Department of the city, a total of 14,810 girls will benefit from the scheme, which has been allocated a budget of Rs 14.9 million. This is the money the metropolis received from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
The government in the first week of January allocated Rs1.37 billion for the procurement of sanitary pads for the 753 local governments all across the country to serve 1.4 million girls. But most local governments haven’t implemented the programme.
The drive was launched from Gyanodaya School on Tuesday. “The city has already sent us a budget for the 91 community schools in the 32 wards,”said Moti Raj Khanal, education officer at the city department.
Shova Sapkota, chair of Ward No.14 who inaugurated the drive in the presence of Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya, said the “landmark scheme” will help reform the education system.
“It may seem like a simple thing, but this is a great move by the city,” said Sapkota. “Many girls, mainly in the community schools, are forced to miss their classes during their periods, which are very painful for girls,” said Sapkota.
It’s mostly the daily wage earners who send their children to community schools in Kathmandu. It’s impossible for such parents to pay Rs 55 to 70 for a single pad, say experts. During one menstrual cycle, about 10 pads are used on average, which means, women and girls have to spend Rs550 for just one menstrual cycle.
“This is a great financial relief for parents like us,” said Khusi’s father Dorna Datta Joshi, 42, a priest by profession.
According to Natikaji Maharjan, principal of Gyanodaya school, the city has provided Rs 970,000 to the school to distribute sanitary pads for free this year. The school has started to distribute pads to students from class five to 12. He said the school has been providing 16 pads for free in one period cycle. The school has 1,300 girl students from class five to 12.
“So far we have already distributed pads to 100 girls in our school, and we are continuing doing it,” said Maharjan.
Meanwhile, Khushi requests government agencies to declare sanitary pads as “essential products” and provide them to all girls across the country. “Kathmandu city has done a great job. All local governments should not delay in doing the same.”