WONDERWorks put a smile on the faces of 250 school girls at the Mahendra Daya Secondary School, in Sindupulchowk yesterday, when we provided them each with a washable sanitary kit.
It took us some time to reach the rural school because work is being done to widen the narrow, mountainous road (making for a bumpy journey and creating clouds of dust in our wake). When we arrived we realised just how isolated the school is – not a shop or teahouse for miles! We later heard that most of the students have to walk for two hours to reach the school and another two hours to return home again! We could well understand how girls, without adequate protection, may prefer not to attend during menstruation.
We received a wonderful reception from the staff who welcomed our support for their students. We gave our presentation on the roof of the school but had to divide the girls into two age groups to be able to accommodate them all. The girls listened carefully but were clearly shy and uncomfortable about discussing such personal matters. A few jokes from Bimala and their teachers soon helped them to feel more relaxed. Once explanations were over the kits were handed out and they politely thanked us. As they made their way back to their classrooms the girls clutched their colourful bags and seemed very pleased with them!
The Headmaster kindly invited us to join him for a delicious dhall bhat lunch in the school canteen, before saying our goodbyes. The long journey back to Kathmandu gave us the chance to reflect on our day and we felt happy to be able to tell our ladies back at the centre, how well appreciated all their hard work had been.