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Doing What You Love And Loving What You Do

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By Sumeet Kaur:

Are you among the ones who believe that your passion can pay you enough to sustain a living? I asked a lot of people this question and they were not really sure. Amish Tripathi, a famous writer, quit his job as a banker only after the success of his second book ‘Shiva Triology’, because it was then that he fully realized what his passion was really worth. It is his passion that is bringing him name and fame as compared to his earlier job. I believe that the world would be an altogether different place if we all did the work that actually mattered to us. It would literally change the world.

follow-your-dream

Living a life of passion and getting paid for it is just that, a way of life. Those who wake up excited aren’t just the lucky ones, they condition themselves to experience and deserve it.
– Scott Dinsmore

Too many people I talked to are afraid to try doing what they love, because they are afraid they are no good and will make a mistake or that they’re not simply ready yet. In my view, we all want to start doing the work we love. Isn’t it a fundamental human right? But there still is something that is stopping us and that is nothing but fear. Some of us don’t know exactly what our passions are or maybe we haven’t realized and the others don’t know how to make money from their passions. They lack guidance or an environment to test their abilities and gauge their chances of success. We, therefore, compromise on our passions and eventually, in the long run, feel frustrated.

Some of us are really lucky. Recently an Indian origin woman, Asha Patel, who works as a freelance writer and photographer in London, has been shortlisted along with 24 other people for the post of Western Australia tastemaster, described as one of the “best jobs in the world“. This is just a dream come true for the lucky one whose passion is food and travel and she will be paid good amounts for the same. But this is not the case with everyone. People need their space to pursue their passions. Today, we see a huge change in career options available which we didn’t imagine earlier. Lot of offbeat careers have gained much wider acceptance nowadays in society. The gen-next is at least taking the initiative to explore their interests and convert them into realistic full-time career paths as compared to earlier times when due to family pressures one used to only look at established options that provide a secure job and pay package. This is a true fact that in the absence of adequate family support, it becomes really difficult to pursue interests which are not mainstream and challenge the stereotypes. Every individual may have his own circumstances which may have lured him towards a lucrative job that for the moment was too good to resist and for others may be taking up a particular job that came their way was a necessity to sustain their family responsibilities or a need of the hour due to lack of options.

Heard about Raghav Juyal, the Dance India Dance sensation who attained success through his slow motion dancing style? Lot of fame has come his way and he thinks that dance and films are something he enjoys and is therefore honing his skills in this field. He will also shortly be featuring in an upcoming Ramesh Sippy movie. This is one small example of a young boy from Dehradun who was great when it came to studies and whose parents were not happy about his passion for dancing but he was determined and when the opportunity came his way and he realized that his passion would no doubt be his career and that too a well paying one. New York Chef Vikas Khanna, one of the judges of Master Chef India, popular for his culinary skills and good looks developed an obsession for food in his early childhood. He enjoyed learning cooking from his grandmother and that turned into his passion and landed him amongst the top chefs.

Nitin Gupta, CEO of Entertainment Engineers did his engineering from IIT Bombay. At the undergraduate level, he was more involved with theatre. He got an opportunity to perform as a stand-up-comedian and mono-acting competitions where his journey towards performing arts began. He liked this forte and thus put in his hardwork and dedication to follow his passion. He has performed in some of the biggest college festivals in India- the IITs, NITs, IIMs their International Alumni Meets and various FORTUNE 500 Companies.

Lucy Mathen, BBC’s First female Asian Broadcaster was a successful Television reporter with a glamorous, well paying and interesting job but she later switched over to become an ophthalmologist, as according to her she wanted to make a real difference in the society for which her choice of journalism didn’t seem to be fruitful. She, therefore, made a change to fulfill her passion. So, there are people like Lucy who make a career switch to something they love, but I guess that the longer people wait to make a career switch to something they love, the less likely they are to ever do it. Steve Jobs also thought that he was following his passion when he decided that he wanted to be a lawyer as he loved to argue from a young age but later he realized that it was not something he wanted to do and so switched over to what he believed to be his passion. Film director Zoya Akhtar,the director of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, right from a very young age knew what she wanted to do in life, she was very clear with her vision, wanted to direct films and that is what she is successfully doing.

My personal suggestion is that If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, then you should act quickly. Turn your passion into a business, because as you get older, you are less likely to take risks. And the other way out for those who are not exactly into entrepreneurship is to hunt for opportunities through personal contacts and internet, especially social media. You should try to find out recruiters who are in search for the kind of talent you have as your talent is going to benefit their enterprise and you in turn will get your dream job that you will love to do and be paid for it at the same time. It would in turn be a win-win situation for you. So, no matter what your taste is- from watching videos on Youtube, trekking, tasting wines, planning parties, to being a movie buff or a food critic, going out on excursions, making people laugh, writing poetry or talking and meeting people, there is a paid job for each one. You only need to be dedicated and begin your search. Prove those people wrong who think that passions and income don’t usually align. Good luck!

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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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