Ama Zangmo provides sanitary napkins to nuns

As menstrual hygiene day was celebrated on May 28 with many citizens supporting the red dot campaign, a group of 22 individuals who have formed an association named “Ama Zangmo” to support the nuns of Khardung Nunnery in Trashigang District donated pads to the nunnery. 

One of the founding members of Ama Zangmo which initially started out with 10 members, Kuenga Phuntsho, 23, said after knowing the risks and complications associated with poor menstrual hygiene, Ama Zangmo has been a dream project among themselves. “We wanted to contribute a little money and buy sanitary pads for rural women. With discussion eventually, we grew into a group of 10 committed members,” he said.

As a group, they started exploring the possibilities of the project, its funding, and prospects as other organizations and agencies were working on a similar project. They chose to help nuns, as like every other productive woman, they contribute significantly to the community and the nation at large. For this reason, they supported the nuns at Thekchhog Kuenzang Chhodron Nunnery at khardung, Trashigang.

There are 85 nuns on campus, and 76 of them are eligible for the service. “We initially started our group with 10 members but we accepted new members with the hope to extend our project to other eligible nunneries as well in the future,” he added.

For funds, they deposit the amount, fixed by the members in their group’s joint account every month end. The budget is then used for purchasing sanitary pads, and for transportation charges. As of May, they provided a consignment containing 160 boxes of premium Ultra Thin Sanitary Pads from Cheychey Sanitary Pad.

“As much as our group wanted to support women, we also wanted to support local products and we decided to purchase pads from Cheychey Sanitary Pad and signed a year-long contract (renewable) with the company.” The company is supplying the pads at a wholesale rate.

“With our show of respect in the form of sanitary napkins, we hope that the nuns on their period will have a comfortable time during the long hours of performing rituals, recitation, and mask dances.” Every nun is entitled to two boxes of Premium Ultra-Thin Sanitary Pad every month. One box contains seven pieces of Sanitary Pads.

He hopes the project will help to reduce their small monthly burden of buying napkins. The group is hopeful that the project will be successful and it will grow into a large community because Ama Zangmo aims to reach out to every woman in robes.

Additionally back at the capital, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo graced the Global Menstrual Hygiene Day marked by The Bhutan Nuns Foundation (BNF) at the BNF’s Training and Resource Center at Tshalumaphey. The day was celebrated by launching an electric-incinerator that was gifted to the nuns by Clean Bhutan and Bhutan National Bank Limited.

The founder of Cheychey Sanitary Pads, Pema Chozom said she aims to help rural and disadvantaged communities by creating employment opportunities and promoting health and hygiene among adolescent girls and women. Most of the buyers are people from middle income, lowest income, schools, Government organizations, private sectors, corporation companies, and nunnery center group. The products are sold through B2B and B2C and opportunities are given to women in distributions of pads on a commission basis.

“Being an entrepreneur is hard but I am happy because I am making differences in the lives of our girls and women. Everything is possible if you believe in yourself,” she said.

Nuns across the country celebrated the menstrual hygiene day and they held an open discussion about menstruation to celebrate the event unlike in olden times.

Tenzin Lhamo from Thimphu