Forbidden fruit

Though sex-related crimes and diseases are not so uncommon in the Nepali society, sex education is still considered a taboo. Even as the school curricula introduced sex education several years ago in order to raise awareness about reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases, open discussion of sex still remains a forbidden subject. The Family Planning Association has started conducting special ‘Friday classes’ in three public schools in Ilam, where students and teachers are not only encouraged to hold discussions on reproductive health and safe sex but also to get rid of evils like sexual abuse.

However, most of the efforts at enlightening people on issues like sex education have mostly been conducted in order to impress foreign donors and attract foreign aid, rather than address people’s genuine needs and concerns. Despite efforts at educating people about the hazards of unsafe sex, a large number of people continue to be infected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The campaigners need to be aware of the fact that an even greater number of people in Nepal suffer due to poor health and unhygienic living conditions. It would not only be enough to limit their educational programmes to sex education but also to education that would help improve the overall health and lifestyle of the people. In this, introduction of the science of yoga, say, into educational institutions, could help cope with these problems better.