Soniya Sanam Tamang

Soniya Sanam Tamang

A Wartburg College student has received a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant to carry out a summer humanitarian effort that will fund a community-run shower for girls and women in the Mahawai Rural Municipality of Nepal.

Junior Soniya Sanam Tamang, a Davis United World College Scholar from Nepal, will partner with the Oda Foundation, a nonprofit that builds local leadership and supports health care and education in Nepal’s Kalikot District. The solar-powered showers will provide a safe and hygienic space for menstruating girls and women to shower and wash their reusable menstruation pads.

“Being on a menstrual cycle, a natural biological cycle that is vital in girls’ and women’s mental and reproductive health, is considered impure and a sinful act that brings misfortune to the family and livestock,” Tamang wrote in her proposal. “Understanding societal and cultural context is important to understand the issues that are rooted in villages like Mahawai, and providing basic human rights through humanitarian actions will preserve and strengthen human relationships and erase societal issues.”

Representatives from the Oda Foundation also will host sessions to educate girls and women about good menstrual health management practices.

“The main objective of this project is to help girls and women become confident with who they are and embrace their monthly natural cycle without fear of judgment from others,” Tamang wrote.

Philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis founded Davis Projects for Peace in 2007 to celebrate her 100th birthday. Davis, who died in 2013, committed $1 million annually to fund 100 grassroots efforts by college students. Wartburg students have received a grant every year since the program’s inception. Projects for Peace invites all undergraduates at the American colleges and universities that are partners in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to compete for these grants.