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I Live My Life Online: The Diary Of An Average Facebooker

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By Lata Jha: 

Dear Diary,

Life, I feel, is a theatre performance. And I love that I get to spend some part of it on stage. There’s so much “on my mind”, so much I have to share, so much I have to say, so much I have to be. Which is why I choose the single most accessible platform to weave my dream. The world on Facebook is my ultimate source of glory, strength, solace and joy. I find it easy to live my dream online. It’s not like I don’t have a life of my own in reality, I just prefer the one online.

facebookMy virtual existence helps me be the person I want to be. It helps me flaunt every single aspect about myself that I cherish. For starters, I have to let people know of the wonderful places I visit, when and with whom. For the same reason, I love the ‘check in’ option. It’s like waving to the paparazzi. What else is Facebook meant for really? It helps me let people know that I absolutely love my life, or at least make it seem so. I just put up pictures of the pasta I had for lunch, and letting the world know what I ate made me feel so strangely empowered.

There is no way their lives would be worthwhile without knowing how cool, fun, feisty and rebellious I am. At the same time, I realize that I must reveal my talented and successful side as well. So, I make sure I post updates about my marks, my placements, my scores, every single trophy, medal and stationery kit that I win, besides of course, cribbing constantly about how much work I have to do and how I don’t have a moment to myself. It doesn’t matter that I choose to spend more time cribbing than actually working.

I love that I get to create an identity for myself. Everybody knows that I express my indignation by a casual ‘Dafuq’ and my amusement with the immortal ‘Lol’. This isn’t real vocabulary but who said we needed to be chained like we were in school? My expression is my identity, and it’s important that I express myself to make my wonderful presence felt in the lives of all those on my precious ‘list’.

These are people who range from kids who left my school after kindergarten to a cousin’s colleague I met once at a party(whose pictures I had to untag myself from) but it’s absolutely necessary that they know that I’m in a relationship, and with whom. When we feel the affection for each other and post ‘I can’t do without you, baby! :* <3’ on each other’s timelines, it’s only going to seem that much cuter.

But honestly, I do see a future with him. My parents don’t know about him yet, but people on my “list” do. They will watch our love grow. I also know what I’m going to call the wedding albums. Considering there would be one for each event, they have to all sound adorable. From “Harmonious Haldi” to “Crazy Cocktails”, I have it all planned. Must make sure I ask Ranjan, the photographer guy to send me all the pictures by the end of each day. Uploading them all at once would be too much of a task. So many options I would have for profile pictures! It would be freaking insane!

But life isn’t a fairy tale. It does have its share of stresses, I tell you. There is just so much I have to do. Like right now, I must make sure I charge my camera well for my sister’s birthday this week. More than the preparations, it’s important that I capture the moments for the 584 people on my list, in whom my source of joy lies.

Must also get started with preparing the customary status and the one day profile picture. I might spend the rest of the year being absolutely overbearing, but that is the one day the world has to know that she means so much to me. I hate people who think Facebook is meant to bring us all together and reflect on important issues. Bullshit. I mean, who are these fossils doling out moral scriptures? It’s meant to live the life you want to. It’s meant to flaunt all that you’ve got. It’s an ego booster, often a ray of sunshine, your solace and strength. Why else would we all spend so much time on it, whether we’re in class, in the loo, at a meeting or at a funeral? All by ourselves or with friends we’ve met after years?

Facebook has taken the world by storm. In fact, it is quite a world itself. That’s enough for today. Have to go now. Oh, my dog just pooped. Must update immediately.

Hugs and kisses, :* :*

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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, 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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