Chill adds to woes of menstruating women

Bajura, January 25

A woman staying in a Chhaupadi shed for the past three days has fallen ill due to the cold in Himali Rural Municipality of Bajura.

Manamati Rokaya, 28, of the rural municipality was compelled to stay in the shed even despite the excessive cold resulting from snowfall and cold wave since Tuesday night. “Her family members did not provide her quilts, mattress and other necessary materials while staying in the Chhaupadi shed,” she said. Rokaya further added that she has been braving the cold with only the clothes on her body.

Woman Rights Forum Chairperson Rukmani Shah said that women living in Chhaupadi sheds faced more problems after snowfall in hilly areas of the district. “Women are deprived of nutritious food inside the Chhau shed, but their condition gets worse when it snows,” she said. Mina Thapa, 30, of Chededaha Rural Municipality, who just came out of the Chhau shed  some days ago, has fallen ill with the complaints of headache, fever and diarrhoea among other symptoms of cold related diseases.

Unmarried menstruating girls are compelled to stay in Chhaupadi huts for seven days while married women have to stay for five days in the shed. Chairperson Shah said, “We have yet to uproot the superstitious belief from society.” She added that some women had fallen victims to rape and faced life threatening situations in the shed. Women have also lost their lives to snakebite and prowling wild animals.