A month in Nepal for 'Dignity Without Danger'
LJMU students spent four weeks in Nepal working on the ‘Dignity without Danger’ research project this summer to raise awareness of menstrual discrimination.
The ten students, Annabell, Austin, Conor, Grace, Libby, Lucy, Matt, Molly, Sam and Tom, third year and now recent LJMU graduates, visited Nepal for a month-long Turing funded trip, working on the Dignity Without Danger (DWD) research project.
Dignity Without Danger is a British Academy funded programme , led by LJMU Development Studies Reader Dr Sara Parker, which analyses the stigma and taboos surrounding the menstrual exclusion of women and girls in Nepal.
The students, from a range of course backgrounds, including Sociology, Film Studies and Creative Writing, Zoology, Criminology Sociology and Media Production, were accompanied by project lead Sara Parker, Janette Porter (Education) and Janine Melvin (APSS).
The students visited NGOs and schools in Kathmandu, Pokhara and the Sikles sector of the Annapurna Conservation Area, to raise awareness and understanding of menstruation.
Connor and Austin two media students on the trip, filmed, edited and produced videos to highlight the students’ experiences and capture the impact the research and volunteering work in Nepal has had.
The students described the experience as life changing and beyond inspirational:
Austin Jackson, Media Production graduate said:
“The trip to Nepal has inspired me. It has broadened my knowledge and understanding of the day-to-day hardships' women in Nepal face throughout their lives, and it has highlighted the importance of these projects, such as the ‘Dignity Without Danger’ initiative. From having never visited a country outside of Europe, having the opportunity to witness Nepal's unique culture and traditions has hugely impacted my growth as an individual and as a global citizen.”
Libby Conlon, Sociology graduate, said:
“My time in Nepal has been absolutely life changing. I can only say that my experience on the project and with Sara Parker has acted as a catalyst for my passion to teach. We visited local schools to teach menstrual classes which hold a lot of taboo in Nepal and it felt incredibly inspiring to teach young boys and girls the reality of periods and debunk any myths or queries they held about the subject. I attended my PGDE interview whilst in Nepal, of which I was successful. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.”
'Dignity Without Danger' project
Dr Sara Parker has been working and researching in Nepal since 1992 and has taken students to Nepal over the years to work on dissertation research, international field work modules and global citizen opportunities.
She began the ‘Dignity without Danger’ research project in 2019, working with staff from three other universities, six local NGO partners in Nepal, Nepali academics and a number of creative artists to explore the origins, diversity and impacts of local, social, religious and cultural menstrual practices, which deny people who menstruate the right to a ‘dignified menstruation.’
Reflecting on the trip this year, Sara said:
“Sharing the research networks that I have and their passion for addressing a range of social issues with the students was a real pleasure. The whole group were fully engaged and a credit to the university. They supported me in delivering workshops on menstruation and showed a genuine passion and interest in the work that is being done. They participated in a bike rally in Kathmandu to raise awareness of the need to address menstrual discrimination and attended a National Menstrual Hygiene Day.
“Seeing and hearing about what the students got out of this trip has confirmed my passion for supporting students developing their cultural awareness and competency and has left me inspired. I look forward to future opportunities and building on this visit Nepal with LJMU students in the future.”
Sara was joined by LJMU colleagues Janette Porter, School of Education Lecturer and Janine Melvin, Student Experience Officer, APSS on the trip.
Find out more about studying or volunteering abroad
The students’ opportunity to volunteer in Nepal is part of the Turing Scheme, a UK government programme, to provide funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world.
So far this year 350 students at LJMU have taken part in the Turing Scheme to go abroad, with support from the Go Global team at LJMU.
With opportunities from Nepal to Fiji and Sri Lanka, plus nine university wide summer schools, there’s so many opportunities to study and volunteer abroad for students at LJMU.
To find out more, visit the Global Lounge in the Student Life Building or follow LJMU Global Opps on Instagram.