The first time Cheryl Strayed heard the word “chhaupadi,” she was standing on a rooftop in Surkhet, Nepal, in November 2017, surrounded by teenage girls. They were students at the Kopila Valley School, where she and her husband, Brian Lindstrom, had spent the previous week leading workshops in writing and filmmaking.
Some of the girls had asked to meet after school to talk about their lives; they’d barely finished with introductions when one tearfully told them that she’d been banished from her home and made to sleep in a cow shed when she began menstruating. This is the way it was for many girls and women in Nepal, they learned, as the other girls told us their stories.
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