MDM Stories: Challenging Traditions for Today’s Women

March 14, 2018
AIM alumna Radha Paudel tackles the issue of outdated practices in her home country.
Radha Paudel posing with her book, ‘Khalangama Hamala’ (English title, ‘JUMLA: A Nurse’s Story’).
Radha Paudel with her book, "Khalangama Hamala", English title, "JUMLA: A Nurse’s Story" (Photo courtesy of Radha Paudel)

The hope of a secure, just, and livable world lies within the hands of those who are dedicated to justice and peace. Hailing from Nepal, Radha Paudel, a trailblazer in humanitarian activism, is set to take the world by storm.

Radha holds a master’s degree in Health Education and Sociology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and a Master in Development Management from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines. She is a nurse by profession and a humanitarian social activist 24/7, an active voice opposing the discrimination of and violence against women.

In 2010, Radha founded Action Works Nepal, a non-government organization that utilizes humanitarian, educational, and vocational programs to improve the livelihood of communities and enable them to move toward sustainable development. In 2012, she received the N-Peace award from the United Nations Development Program which is annually presented to the peace activist who has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.” She established the Radha Paudel Foundation in 2016, focusing on ending discrimination in rural areas by opposing rape and violence against women, the discrimination against menstruating women, and other outdated practices.

Radha’s latest efforts to make a difference include being a voice against chaupadi, a traditional practice in Nepal that discriminates against menstruating women. Chaupadi is heavily rooted in Hindu scriptures, implying that a female’s monthly cycle is a product of sin against God which makes them impure. Thus, girls and women become untouchable. They are prohibited from interacting with their families, participating in their normal daily routines, and entering their own homes. While they are menstruating, they are banished to cowsheds, where they are vulnerable to both animal and human predators and exposed to the elements. Many have fallen ill or have died because of chaupadi.

Radha has taken it upon herself to stand up against this tradition by educating women about their natural menstrual cycles. Radha produced Chaupadi: Banished for Bleeding, a documentary providing a look at the Nepalese tradition. The documentary illustrates the beliefs attached to chaupadi and shares the testimonies of women and girls who have and have not gone through the tradition. It also showcases the many efforts of women to stop the practice of chaupadi in Nepal.

The documentary debuted at the 2017 Global Health Film Festival held at the Barbican Centre, London from 08 – 09 December 2017.

Radha is truly a force to be reckoned with. She is a pioneer that strives hard to light a path for others to follow, a path that is meant to be an opportunity to attain justice, peace and equality. As an alumna of AIM, she truly holds the school mission to heart by continuing to lead, inspire, and transform the forces around her.

This website uses information-gathering tools, such as cookies, web analytics, and other similar technology. By using this website, you consent to the use of these tools.

View Privacy Policy