Expanding Our Network in Kathmandu

In December 2023, I was honored to be part of a four-person team of DLA Piper lawyers who traveled to Nepal to conduct a training for Nepalese women lawyers.  You can read all about that work in the blog written my colleague and co-trainer Roshan Bhattarai, available here.

Our pro bono adventure did not end with the training.  While we were in Nepal, we took every opportunity we could to connect with organizations in Kathmandu that have missions that are congruent with of the mission of New Perimeter. Our first meeting had a lasting impact on me.

Days for Girls International is global nonprofit working to eliminate the stigma and limitations associated with menstruation.  In many parts of the world, including in Nepal, there is considerable stigma, resulting limitations for women and girls, related to menstruation, as well as practical hurdles in obtaining and disposing of sanitary products. To address this, Days for Girls has created a washable, reusable pad, which, in addition to being a practical and necessary menstrual health product, is built to last out of multicolored, cheerful cloth. The organization has local women make these reusable pads, creating opportunities for work and participation in the process. 

When we visited Days for Girls’ Nepal office early in our trip, we were amazed to discover that organization’s office is nestled very close to the hotel we have stayed in for many years, a short walk away on narrow unpaved roads.  Upon arrival, we were given a warm welcome and a tour of the establishment. The walls were adorned with amazing art by women and girls. The back rooms were filled with seamstresses making the patented DfG Pads and related kits, as well as bolts and cut pieces of multicolored cloth. We sat together with the organization’s country director, learned about their operations, and brainstormed on opportunities for collaboration.  We were educated on issues facing people who menstruate in Nepal, as well as the government’s efforts to address these issues.  At the end of our visit, our hosts draped ceremonial yellow scarves around our necks. 

The meeting was particularly meaningful given New Perimeter’s past work with the organization.  In 2022, together, we published a comparative study on advancing menstrual health, education and economic progress, which is available here.  Personally, I appreciated the opportunity to learn about critical issues that women and girls face around the world, and I was moved by the reminders of our common humanity.

We look forward to continuing our conversations with Days for Girls on our common interests and opportunities for collaboration.

Nepal Kristen Franceschi

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