Sita comes from the district of Ramechhap which is southeast of Kathmandu about half way between Kathmandu and Dharan. She has been living with a fistula for 21 years. As a consequence of her fistula, she experienced total neglect and rejection from her family having been thrown out of home many years ago. She took her son to Kathmandu, lived on the streets and survived by selling goods on the footpath. Her son is now grown up and has been able to get work in Saudi Arabia. His income there is very small and so far he has not as yet been able to send any money home to his mother.
With the help of Fistula Free Nepal, Sita recently had her fistula operated on. She has nowhere to live but a “pidi” which is a Nepalese term for “outside the house”. She had an open wound and in May 2018 was admitted to NHEDF for wound care. Two weeks later she was discharged, having been offered the opportunity to later join a team of NHEDF patients who will work for a Days for Girls Enterprise we are facilitating called Circle of Hope. Unfortunately for Sita, surgery was not successful. NHEDF has provided her with incontinence products which she has never been able to afford. Sita knows she can contact NHEDF or Fistula Free Nepal if she would ever like to work for Circle of Hope or if she ever needs medical care again.
Since her visit to Nepal in February, our founding Trustee Virginia, has been working very hard to find ways of working with the internationally renowned organisation Days for Girls www.daysforgirls.org and sourcing and providing waterproof incontinence products for fistula affected women as well as training some staff from both our project partners to become DfG Ambassadors of Women’s Health.
This idea could also involve supporting the establishment of a DfG Enterprise operating out of NHEDF’s Shelter and also in Dharan which will provide these women with menstrual and incontinence products (most women in Nepal simply use rags which are not waterproof) and deliver community education about menstruation and women’s health issues. Disposable incontinence products cost the equivalent of three days wages for the average Nepali for a packet of ten!
This all looked so easy lfrom the website but like so many things, everything often happens differently in Nepal to anywhere else, so just like a road to rehabilitation, the path to a DfG Enterprise is proving to also be a lengthy road indeed!
Yesterday Samrat and our possible Enterprise candidate, Sunam, visited Days for Girls in Kathmandu and were lucky enough to meet not only the Asia coordinator but the actual founder of DfG who just happened to be there from USA! Days for Girls was set up by CEO Celeste Mergens in 2008.
Virginia is hoping this is an auspicious occasion! DfG Enterprises could also provide an income for both our NHEDF patients who need alternative means of employment as they are often unable to work in their pre-injury employment and fistula affected women who are often living in abject poverty.
Watch this space!
A huge thank you to Canberra Days for Girls for 100 menstrual kits. They will be a huge help for women in Nepal who experience urinary and/or faecal incontinence as a result of obstetric, traumatic and iatrogenic fistula. We have started planning how to make a specific product suitable for women with fistula and will keep you posted! For more information bout the wonderful work Days for Girls do visit their website www.daysforgirls.org and watch this space for further developments!
If you haven’t, check out their website https://www.daysforgirls.org
A huge thank you to the Canberra Days for Girls Team who are making menstrual kits for both women and girls at NHEDF and our fistula patients in Dharan. Days for Girls provide both normal menstrual kits and also heavy flow kits and whilst the latter are not suitable for women with unoperated fistula they are regularly used for women with light incontinence.
In Nepal many women do not have access to information about menstruation, nor do they have access to menstrual products. They simply use rags and cloths. Also in Nepal, particularly in the far west of the country, the ancient Hindu tradition of Chhaupadi is still practiced. To listen to women’s experiences of Chhaupadi click here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p050vkpj
Watch this space as we have some exciting developments!