Mangu Bika, 14.
“I was in Gujarat in India working during my first year of menstruation. I didn’t observe chaupadi there. Things are different here.”
“The first time I went into a chaupadi I was scared of snakes. But now, more than snakes, I am scared of men; I am scared of getting kidnapped. I am really worried about what will happen to me after marriage. I want to grow up and be a teacher because I like going to school. Because when we go to school, we all sit together and their are no rules there or any discrimnation against the menstruating woman.”
Chandra Tiruva, 34, and her child, Madan, 2, share the chaupadi with Mangu.
“It is the traditional belief that our ‘kul devtaa’ [house god] will be angered, so I was sent to chaupadi. I don’t like being here but there is a lot of force. My mother in law forces me, but what can I do. She looks after my other three children during this period. But my mother in law even makes my two year old child observe chaupadi just because he sleeps with me.”
Surkhet district, Nepal