My Health, my Story

Sophie Inglin

Photovoice, a participatory photography project in Nepal

 

Seven female farmers from Nepal shed light on the reality of their situation.

Each ones life has been impacted by an affliction that occurs widely across the country, uterine prolapse. This medical condition has a large number of physical and psychological consequences and continues to be both a major public health challenge and an urgent issue in terms of human rights, as it reduces the amount of control women have over their health and future.

This participative project, supported by the University of Geneva, the Nepal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and a local NGO Rural Women’s Network Nepal, gives a voice to these women – who are rarely heard in the public arena – through their use and appropriation of an accessible tool: photography.

Armed with special training received in Kathmandu, these novice photographers retrace both their own experiences and the difficulties and suffering endured by their peers. Their first photo essay, together with their commitment, have enabled both a rekindling of interest in this issue and the initiation of a project designed to act at the heart of communities, with the hope of contributing to social change through the power of images.

Click on the pictures to discover their history.

Presentation of the 7 photographers

I’m Bhabani and I’m 56 years old. My husband is disabled and so do I, since I started suffering from uterine prolapse. I walk with a cane because of all the pain I endure. I had an operation several years ago but, since then, I have bled a lot and I don’t feel as though my situation has improved. I have not gone back to the doctor since then.

Here is a picture of me, Bimala, with my granddaughter. When she is older, she will receive a modern education. My face is pale but my granddaughter’s is so bright it glows! This difference reflects the generation gap that separates us. My face expresses the sadness caused by a difficult life - made so difficult by my uterine prolapse - whereas hers reflects the brilliant future she still has ahead of her.

My name is Dilli Maya and I’m 38 years old. I have suffered from uterine prolapse for a long time. Here is a picture of me carrying a large pot of water for the cattle. I have to do this even though it’s dangerous and painful due to my condition: as farm workers, we have no other choice. I consulted a doctor who advised me to undergo surgery to repair my body, but I can’t afford it.

My name is Laxmi Maya and here is a picture of me. I have been suffering from uterine prolapse after my fifth pregnancy. I don’t know if this condition is linked to my pregnancies or to the extremely hard work that I do in the fields, or from the domestic violence that I have suffered at the hands of my husband. I have not had much luck in my life and poverty has not helped. I had very little to eat while I was pregnant and my body became so weak. I am just tired.

My name is Padma and I have suffered from uterine prolapse for the last nine years, causing me a lot of pain. My body no longer works like it used to, and my husband went abroad to work to support our family. In this picture, I am with my parents, who wanted me to have a great future, but my illness has taken that hope away from them.

Here I am Pramila, with my only son. Since he was born, I have suffered from uterine prolapse, even though I had never had any health problems before then. I found out about my condition after bleeding a lot and, since then, it hurts when I sit down and I suffer from severe back pain. I’d love to pursue my dreams and flourish, but since I have suffered from this condition, my life has been turned upside down and the future looks bleak.

I am Sabitri and I am 30 years old. I got married when I was 14, like my son today. I gave birth to my first baby when I was 15. My husband is 17 years older than me. When I was young, I didn’t have any knowledge about contraception so I had an early pregnancy. Now I regret it; if I hadn’t been ignorant about it, I wouldn’t suffer from uterine prolapse today.

 

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