For several days each month, the lives of many teen girls in Nepal are turned upside down. They’re isolated from family and daily routines and banned from engaging in activities like combing their hair, spending time with family, and even eating their favorite foods. Why? Because they have their periods.
Now, girls from Nepal are giving the world a glimpse at how “the silence and stigma that surround menstruation” deeply affect their lives as part of a new public awareness campaign from the international charity WaterAid.
Seven teens from the rural village of Sindhuli were given cameras so they could document what it’s really like to have their periods in their community. After taking the photographs and participating in workshops, the girls put their work on display to help encourage discussion about the issue.
The goal of the project, according to WaterAid, is to “challenge menstrual taboos and call for improved sanitation for women everywhere.”
“Being able to deal with periods in a hygienic and dignified way is crucial to women’s well-being,” WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost said in a statement. “It helps women feel that they are able to play a full role in society, no matter what time of the month.”
Ahead, a look at what it’s like to experience your period as a young girl in Nepal.