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Happiness and Sorrow: Hand in Hand

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Praveen Kumar:

The world around us often seems to hold the upper hand to our dreams, our desires, and our destinies. This is because we live in a world of disadvantages. Physical or Mental challenges, Poverty, Oppressive employers, Chronic diseases, Social Marginalization, and so on – disadvantages everywhere. People, thus, allow their entire mind to be set at doubt and discouragement because of the seeming disadvantages that life seems to bring. The weakened heart then tempts us to play the victim and go around seeking sympathy.

There is no doubt we all have problems. Some small, some big. However, we cannot explicitly compare them. Our problems might look small to others and others’ problem might look small us. Hence the onus of our problem lies within us, not anyone else.

And the responsibility to wrestle with the problem is ours and not others’ around us, not even our close one. Our parents or our relatives might come to our rescue and help us, but that would not bring out the qualities we have in ourselves to handle situations.

Beethoven was deaf when he composed some of the world’s greatest symphonies. Horner, who wrote the Odyssey and John Milton, who wrote Paradise Lost, were Blind. Fanny Crosby who wrote few amazing Christian songs like ‘Blessed Assurance’ was blind. Louis Braille who became blind in his childhood, did not gave up and invented the raised dot reading system which can represent any alphabet in not more than 6 dots.

We can observe that one thing was common amongst all of them, they did not seek sympathy, and in fact they fought back with their disadvantages, as our disadvantages can spur us on to greater victories if we refuse to be discouraged by them.

The great people whom we look up to are often those who did not begin with great advantages. They often came from the dregs of humanity. Some were born in dysfunctional homes where they were neglected; alcoholism and even abusive behaviour were the rule.

But they did not let their past or present decide their future. In fact, their Disadvantages often energized their resolve to change not only their own lives, but also of those around them.

Turning a disadvantage into advantage – that’s the challenge, and for the one who believes in himself, it’s always a great opportunity. If one focuses on his disadvantages and gets caught up in self-pity, the world will never see a display of the change in him.

There are innumerable examples of people who stood high in the world as role models. They all achieved greater things which started from nothing. You could be one of them. We all have abilities to fight our problems. As problems are tests for our rigidness and they are not going to destroy us, as, we face problems which are well in the scope of our ability to tackle them.

Someone has very beautifully said “All problems have solutions, and if you do not find a solution to something, then that is not a problem-it is something else”. Hence all our disadvantages are common, we have to live with them but we shall bear in mind that we should be the one who decides our future, not our disadvantages.

Drop in a comment below or mail us at info@youthkiawaaz.com, you can also tweet us at @YouthKiAwaaz.

The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz

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You must be to comment.
  1. Rayeesa Tabassum.

    Well-written!! 🙂

  2. praveen kumar g

    thanku tabassum.

  3. Anonymous

    hey praveen ,,very realistic article !!!!,, positive attitude is must for making disad. to advantage.. Keep it up..!!

  4. silo

    “Not letting the past or present to decide the future” is some what agreeable. But, to make our future even better, we need to think about what we did in the past that should be avoided in future. Isn’t it so?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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