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Confessions Of A Ranger-Holic

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By Pooja Baburaj:

It was July 31, 2006 when I took my baby steps into love. The rationale behind my very existence in this otherwise hopeless planet had ultimately been verified. That day, an unexpected bout of heavy monsoon showers had kept us away from the swings in the local park where we prowled and growled every afternoon after lunch. The aunts were deeply disappointed as the regular screening of their beloved Sunday soaps were soon violently interrupted as we pranced about the living room, hopping from table to chair in attempts to whisk away the T.V. remote. All thanks to our tender age and their tender backs, we claimed the coveted remote in a jiffy and instantly transformed the screen that showed a daughter-in-law getting face-dunked by her in-laws into one that displayed coloured humans airborne in outer space. The spandex suits, the morphers and the zords — My family called this crisis as I had gotten myself addicted to the ‘excited 12-year-boy’ drug despite being a young lass with sociall expectations of playing pink squishy things. I had instantly decided that this was the life I desired – iridescent hues for clothing, the ability and opportunity to insult Einstein by switching states of matter, and some hardcore attitude. I cherished every slow-mo shot and every bolt of electricity that thrust out their backs when they posed. I wanted it all — the action, the drama and most importantly saving the day from alien bums of Uranus. The Power Rangers series might have been and will be a childhood fixation for a lot and lots more to come — we all cruise together in the boat of utopian ecstasy.

power rangers

Albeit, kill-joy people called me cuckoo for seeking to learn morality and humanism from its episodes, I prefer to think of myself as a social proctologist who treats societal haemorrhoids. For me, the almost absurd exhilaration of being on the wing, shooting rainbows at villains is much more than what I would get out of doing my doll’s blonde hair. Now after seven years of Power Rangers, I am still sorting through all the minutiae of societal nonsense. All the things that are of grave importance in my life – grades to match Ivy League standards, an entry into the High IQ society, being Head Girl – none of it actually matters in the grand scheme of things. I want something that tests who I am, my persistence and prowess. I have complete respect for a person who wakes up every morning to drive into the same traffic to reach the same office cubicle to do the same job. It’s just that such a life just wasn’t meant for me.

In my perception, the Power Rangers are basically our early-hour teachers of life lessons as the Power Rangers primarily educate their audience on how to be a good person – to be more precise, the excitement of being a good person. The show consistently demonstrates the rangers as helping those in need. They are propagated as a team of invincible heroes who fight a range of villains and evil forces, thereby continuously re-establishing the victory of justice & virtue in the all-time legendary ‘Good vs. Bad’ battle. The Rangers are also often seen running errands for the old, rescuing cats from trees, fixing punctured bicycles and carrying a pregnant woman’s grocery — they keep themselves engaged in all of those little things that matter a great deal in someone else’ life.

Some of the life lessons I have learnt include:

– Power Rangers are all about respect. In a world where the meaning of respect is lost in the dictionaries, it is refreshing and reassuring to see it exemplified by a popular form.

– We can also discover a lot about friendship and teamwork from the Power Rangers. Many story lines deal with the challenges of establishing and maintaining enduring relationships. The squads are often constituted by teenagers who vary in gender, race and age, all united by their unique and inspirational ideal of protecting their world and people.

– Loyalty is another important virtue that the Power Rangers exemplify. The heroes are loyal to one another as well as to their ethics.

– Perseverance is yet another lesson as they submit themselves to scores of struggles during the process of mastering their skills as well as fighting their foes. Many times they undertake insurmountable obstacles and yet don’t give up. They lay bare that its only hard work gets you the hit because despite having super powers and some pretty nifty tools, gadgets and assistants, no victory ever comes easy to the Power Rangers.

– Flexibility is another admired ability of the Rangers. Effective Rangers are flexible and adapt to changing circumstances and challenges.

– Learning is a top priority for the Power Rangers. They place great deal of emphasis on their education and training, not only as Rangers, but also as people. They ascertain that knowledge is power and can be one of the greatest weapons anyone possesses.

– Taking care of ourselves is also an important Ranger lesson. The Rangers recognize they are most powerful and effective if they are in top form both physically and emotionally.

– And last, but certainly not least, the Power Rangers teach us all how to be a hero. I can only hope that as more of us are influenced by the Power Rangers, the more heroes are born among us.

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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.

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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.

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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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