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Let’s Rename Friday — “EARTHDAY”

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By Priyanka Pani:

I just had an epiphany. And no, like all great discoveries and innovations, this wasn’t borne out of severe distress and an urge to change the world as I know it. Rather, it happened as I sat scowling at my laptop screen, reading an article proclaiming that “Earth Day” is suddenly the most awaited “Day” in our calender. That the sense of satisfaction and do-goodness experienced by the writer was so profound that he could hardly wait to go green again. So, instead of perhaps taking a walk in the neighbourhood or catching up on some reading, our friend decided to spend precious time on his PC/laptop, raving about earth day and happily clocking some carbon footprints (something yours’ truly is equally guilty of).

Now, that article may have been written in all earnestness, but it got me a) scowling, and b) thinking.There’s no taking away from the fact that Earth Day is a big step towards reducing the burden on our overstretched planet. For people the world over to decide to get planet-friendly, even if for just a day, is definitely victory for Earth. But, that makes it 1 day of being all pally with Earth, and 364 days of being the meanest bully you can be. The worst part is, we aren’t intentional bullies. We’ve learnt to live that way for so long, that now it probably, unfortunately, is the only way we know how to live. And the majority of us do our bit, wherever possible, towards showering some concession on our uncomplaining host, Earth. We need ALL of us to join in. And before our still-hospitable host decides that we’ve overstretched our stay. All these doomsday-like thoughts gave birth to my afore-mentioned epiphany – how about renaming one day of the week, my choice being Friday, as Earth Day??

That would make it an average of 52 Earth Days annually, and depending on popular demand, the offer could be extended to more than once a week! Since time immemorial, generation upon generation has been cursing the bloke who came up with the concept of a two-day weekend. Talk of being unpopular. So, in my quest for eternal popularity for generations to come (silly Hitler, poor chap must be wishing he’d thought of this.. :P), I propose a three-day weekend, the first of which being Earth Day, followed by Saturday and Sunday. I wouldn’t toy with those two biggies, that would be blasphemy. So, after a long, grueling week, you have Earth Day for both you and your planet to cool off. Catch up on sleep and family, have friends over for lunch at your place — basically, make the most of the natural world around you. So once your batteries are charged and raring to go, make the most of the rest of your weekend in whatever way best enjoyed by you. Just make sure you don’t reverse the climate-good done by you. The aim is to balance it out, so that you can review you week with the one following word — fulfilling. That both your self-conscience as well as your climate/earth-conscience are assuaged. I appeal to you, fellow earthlings — let’s make us and our very charitable host happy here, shall we? All those in favor of Friday becoming the new Earth Day — spread the message, and get ready to reap the goodwill of our successors!

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  1. Sriparna

    if you’re the same priyanka pani i know, this is just so true and most imortantly, you.. neway, great write up..looking forward to a serious consideration on the above mentioned suggestions…

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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.

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 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 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

Find out more about her campaign here.

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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.

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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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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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