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The Name is Paul, just Paul! *Vooooo!!!*

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By Prateek Waghre:

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in the article are of the author.

The World Cup has been cagey from the word ‘Go’. The group stages were nothing short of boring. Teams were more content playing out boring draws instead of going for the Jugular. The beautiful game was almost anything but beautiful but for a few games. From the Jabulani to the Zulu Natals’ polygamous nature and blind referees. Everything was blamed for the lack of the quality on display.

Many of the big players refused to turn up. They left themselves back at rich domestic clubs were they earn millions of Pounds or Euros, you pick your doomed economy!

Les Blues had a contagious case of the blues, which they passed on to fellow 2006 finalists – the Azzuri. Both sides needed the Hand of God. No, not Henry.. and not Maradona either but that guy bathed in heavenly light up there. No such luck

The Africans on the pitch, apart from the Ghana, were sadly, nothing more than a reflection of the state of their countries. ‘This time for Africa?’ Correction. This Time IN Africa. No More!

Rooney was roo-full, Lampard played like a man missing his Lamp. Good Old  Robert ‘Bobby’ Green took it upon himself to repay the United States with a ‘Spill’ of a different kind! Thanks Bob! That really undoes all the damage.

Messi was messy with his finishing. El Diego was no more than comic relief by the touchline, and of course Messi’s personal cheerleader. The Samba boys were unconvincing and deservedly ‘Waltzed’ their way out. Main man Kaka played like — to borrow from kannada — Kakka (shit).

Spain was off to a bumpy start. Which probably led to Roger Federer calling up his nemesis Rafael Nadal and having a good laugh. Well, They’re in the finals and Nadal won the Wimbledon. Who’s laughing now Roger?

Roger that, the Germans were at their destructive best. A blitzkreig here, a goal there and voila — Semifinals. Only to be undone by one of their own. No! Not an own goal. But more on this later.

Amidst all the Hits, Messis..er misses, Waving Flags, Swinging Jabulanis and Fumbling Goalkeepers. The World Cup had only two Stars. Sadly, none of the biped mammals can walk away with that distinction. Yes Villa, you are good, but not as good as these two.

One, a hollow tube that has had it’s trumpet blown all over the world, in a pejorative sense! Yes, the ‘Made in China’ authentically African Vuvuzelas. These fellows had the world cringing, cowering and muting their TVs. Some say the number of bald people in the world will have doubled after the Cup. Heck, They even walked away with an iPhone app.

And ofcourse, the Real Star — From Germany…Paul (no last name), Just Paul — The Psychic Octopus! The little mollusc has the distinction of predicting the outcome of all games of the National side correctly. All but once, The Euro 2008 finals between Spain and Germany. He had picked the Bundesrepublik Deustcheland back then.

Amidst much drama, Paul this time picked..gasp..the mighty Spaniards to pip the efficient Germany to the finals. Out came the haters! PETA rushed to Paul’s defense. Cries of Paul For Lunch..not President (or Chancellor) echoed across the ‘Fatherland’. The soothsaying creature quickly gathered his PR team and decided to do another draw — feigning Camera Shy-ness the first time around. Who did he choose? Quelle Surprise — Germany! The wily octoped — who is obviously a fan of lawyer shows – has given himself plausible deniability should the German Shepherds come knocking at his tank.

Well, the Game just got over. Lawyer or not! Tomorrows Lunch? — ‘Psychisch Krake’ (german for Psychic Octopus)

And in other unrelated news — Football Pundits around the world have started an Octopus Witch-hunt to save their ‘Jobs’.

The ever trustworthy and Human/Animal Rights conscious Chinese have already sprung into action and set up a Psychic Octopus Factory. My sources tell me half will be exported to blood thirsty Germans and the other half will be used to replace striking domestic factory workers!! Hu? Wen? What?

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz. He is also a blogger @ WATBlog and AllThingsSensible.co.cc

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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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

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
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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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