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Here Are Some Sixth Grade Kids Whose Aspirations And Clarity Will Amaze, Inspire And Deeply Motivate Youp

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By Aditi Thakker:

I’d like to introduce you to my brilliant 6th Graders at Babasaheb Ambedkar English School in Mumbai. At this government school (BMC) in Worli, the children come from low-income families from local areas and are being taught by two Teach For India fellows and several volunteers who come and teach the class different things and subjects.


I have had the pleasure of teaching these children Geography while we also discuss political issues, wars and conflicts, legal rights and so on. They are a rare bunch of kids, full of enthusiasm, curiosity and an undying desire to learn. They want to know everything about everything! During one of our classes, we talked about what the children would like to do when they grow up, and about the changes they’d like to bring about in their locality and community. Here’s presenting what eight of them had to say.

Doctor Time!


This lot are the aspiring doctors. While most kids wished to help people by becoming doctors, Rishikesh and Ritika have given their ambition some deeper thought. Rishikesh wishes to be a lung specialist, and treat people who have been suffering due to excessive smoking. He says “Too many young and old people in my locality smoke, even after they know that it is not good for health. I don’t know why they smoke, but I want to help them become healthy again.” Rishikesh hopes to inform his community about the ill-effects of smoking, and wishes to see a smoke-free locality one day. Ritika believes that garbage and unnecessary waste lying around on streets is one of the root causes of diseases. She says, “People need a clean environment to live in. They also need to know that garbage should be thrown in bins, and not on streets. I will become a doctor and treat people, and teach them about cleanliness.” Rikita also believes it is necessary to separate wet and dry garbage before disposal, and that the government needs to have facilities for the same.

Meet our Journalist!


Presenting Neha, she aspires to be a journalist and present on television. When I asked her why she said, “First of all, I want to travel the world and know about different places and people. Then I want to inform people about what is happening around the world, so they know what is wrong and they can change it.” She is extremely interested in learning about sciences and history.

Here’s the Jailor!


Pritam is an aspiring jailor. Yes, you read that right! His was the most unexpected response I came across, in the whole class. Pritam is sick of criminals roaming free on streets, troubling people, especially girls. He says. “When I become a jailor, I will teach these criminals a lesson. I do not like that criminals don’t get a punishment because some lawyers help them. When I am a jailor, I will make sure I teach these bad people a lesson.” Not sure what lesson Pritam wishes to teach, but he recognises that criminals roaming around freely are a menace to his society and this is how he intends to help.

Meet the Performers!


Nagesh and Nikhil are very passionate about music and dance. Nagesh says, “I want to sing on stage one day and dance as well.” Nikhil believes that the arts deserve more recognition and people should do what they like. Nikhil says, “Singing and Dancing makes me happy, and I want to do it forever.” It is truly great to see that among the general preferred choices of careers, some children like the arts too!

Here come the Engineers


A career in engineering has been ranked as the top choice for most boys in India. But very few at the age of 12, know what kind of engineering they wish to pursue and why. In my bunch of little engineers are Nilesh and Vinay. Nilesh wishes to become an automobile engineer and design a car that would run on water. He wants to make the car not only environmentally friendly, but also affordable. He says, “When my car is made, it will run on water. So it will not cause as much pollution as petrol or diesel cars. Also, then people will not be scared with petrol prices increasing. And then people can also save money.” Nilesh loves learning about automobiles, just like Vinay is passionate about buildings. Vinay wants to make strong and long lasting buildings when he grows up. Having heard about the building collapse in Dhaka and Mumbra, in which many factory workers died, Vinay says “I want to make safe building for people to stay and work. Neev hi kamzoor hogi, to uskay baad toh aacha kaam kerna mushkil hai.” Vinay also wishes to have a scheme for affordable housing.


When I was in grade 6, I have a vague idea of what I wanted to do but lacked the clarity that these children portray in their aspirations. Of course, many of them will change their mind and aspirations, but the fact that they are able to think and reason their decisions is something that is here to stay.

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  1. Vaishali Jain

    This made me smile and brought back my own childhood days. :’)
    Thank you for sharing this lovely post, Aditi.

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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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