Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa

Coinciding with the menstrual hygiene day yesterday, the Gasa Primary School (GPS) gifted its six female staff and around 10 girl students, who are at the age of menstruation, a new changing room.

The changing room has a water tap, a geyser, bins to dispose of pads and sanitary pads.

According to a teacher, Gyem Tshering, the school and teachers would ensure a regular supply of pads for the students. “Keeping sanitary pads available isn’t much of a problem. We also receive donations from other schools.”

The changing room is part of the school’s initiative to empower girl students and to remove the taboo around menstruation of girls. With the changing room, menstruation hygiene is also expected to improve.

Another teacher, Sheka Wangmo, said that in the past not only boys but girls were also reluctant to talk about menstruation.

She added that despite teachers trying to help students during the times of menstruation, they felt uneasy.

Following a series of advocacies and discussions on menstruation, the school is witnessing change.

“In the past, even girls would shy away from talking with us when they are menstruating. Then boys would throw remarks on menstruating girls. But now even boys come to get pads for their friends. Things do change,” Sheka Wangmo said.

The school also engaged boys in the construction of the changing room through the Youth Volunteers in Action (Y-VIA).

Gyem Tshering said that while the students were not engaged in physical work, they were asked to design and do simple work.

The changing room was built with funding support of Nu 250,000 from Khun Van Lansam in Thailand. The fund was sought by Gyem Tshering.