As a young girl, twelve-year-old Ehani* just wants to get an education. But because of the hardships she faces at home, it often feels like a difficult goal to reach.

Ehani lives with her grandmother and younger brother. The family's only source of income is the money their grandmother can make by selling firewood collected from the nearby jungle.

"My grandmother walks barefoot to the jungle to collect firewood. In Dashain (a major Hindu festival observed in Nepal) when our friends and neighbours wear new clothes and eat delicious food, we want the same. But our situation doesn’t allow that.”

Ehani’s first menstruation only added to her problems. The income her grandmother makes is barely enough for their family to survive so they can’t afford to take care of Ehani’s menstrual health.

“I want to continue studying but it’s very difficult to manage. We can’t buy sanitary pads. Attending school also becomes more difficult during periods.” 

* Name changed.

In 2019, together with our partner Voice of Children, we started working with schools in Nepal like Ehani's to address the barriers girls face in getting an education.

In her school, we have built separate accessible toilets for girls and boys, the school surroundings are cleaner, and children are learning good sanitation and hygiene practices. 

Girls also receive personal sanitation and hygiene kits from the school that include soap, sanitiser, sanitary pads, and menstrual health pamphlets.

“Because of the availability of toilets and sanitary pads, I can now attend school during periods too. The toilets are much cleaner now.”

Because of her family's situation, Ehani received a scholarship from school. She is thriving in school and is really active in her extracurricular activities.

From this project, 20 women’s self-help groups and adolescent girls have received training on how to make reusable low-cost sanitary pads. Since last year, 500 pads have been made across a network of schools with an aim to make 1000 by the end of the year. Ehani is eager to be part of this project to help her family,

“I want to get further training to produce sanitary pads to sell. This can help reduce the financial burden on my grandmother.” - Ehani