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Meet Pradyut Hande: Debater, Wannabe Photographer And YKA Opinion Leader Of The Week

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By Tanaya Singh:

Since 2008, Youth Ki Awaaz has had over 4,000 people write for it and over 10,000 people comment. Starting this week, we will highlight some of the most active contributors who have played a crucial role in shaping the opinions of many young people through Youth Ki Awaaz.

Pradyut Hande

Pradyut is an award-winning youth leader, writer, blogger, debater, activist and an emerging Entrepreneur. Currently pursuing his MBA at Symbiosis International University, Pune; he is the Co-founder and Programme Director, India of The Future Forum and the Chairperson of the International Youth Council, Mumbai Chapter. With over 250 publications to his credit in National and International dailies and magazines, he addresses wide ranging issues of both domestic and global consequence. He was a Finalist at the Hult Global Case Challenge, 2012 and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Global Business Challenge, 2012. He has been a Youth Ambassador for Youth for Change International, Youth Federation for World Peace and the Student World Assembly. He was also a Core Group Member of the Peace One Day Global Truce, 2013 Campaign. Along with all of these tremendous achievements in his life, he is also a columnist with Youth Ki Awaaz, and our Opinion Leader of the Week.

As a part of our Opinion Leader of the Week column, we highlight Pradyut’s personal journey with the Youth Ki Awaaz community and put him in the spotlight.


Q1: When and how did you get involved with Youth Ki Awaaz?

My association with Youth ki Awaaz began back in September, 2010 when I was chosen to be a part of its Work from Home Internship programme. The entire experience went a long way in shaping my writing sensibilities and provided me with an enriching platform inclusive of both exposure and experience. Given the encouraging response to my Articles and growing penchant to address wide ranging issues of relevance, I’ve been a regular contributor to Youth ki Awaaz. Suffice to say, my association with this incredible platform has only gone from strength to strength; even more so after becoming a Columnist on the same!

Q2: What are some of the topics you’ve loved writing about, and why?

I began by writing about realities pertaining to Business and Economics. But have over time strived to tackle multifarious issues ranging from Domestic Affairs, Geopolitics, Public Policy, Sports and Social Matters. These are domains I easily relate to, am passionate about and have a strong sense of comprehension regarding. I believe my insights and opinions add a certain value to readers across the board. I don’t claim to be an outright expert but I certainly strive to base my thoughts on a sound approach steeped in extensive research and cross questioning in order to arrive at a balanced and factually correct argument.

Q3: What is it that you see as the outcome of your writings at Youth Ki Awaaz, at present or how would you like the outcome to be in the future?

Over time I’ve witnessed the phenomenal increase in readership that Youth ki Awaaz has managed to achieve. Consequently it has been extremely heartening to realise that my Articles are reaching out to an increasingly discerning, aware, sensitised and erudite section of the society. If I can make even a single individual understand or take notice of the plight of a malnourished African child who’s nation remains in the throes of civil war, the severe global water scarcity that threatens our future existence or the manner in which vote bank politics can wreck a sound democratic setup; then I believe I’ve made a difference in my very own way at an individualistic level; no matter how minuscule that maybe. Moving forward, it would be fantastic to gain a more global reader base to spread these fantastic ideas and opinions to.

Q4: If you wanted to change one thing about Youth Ki Awaaz, what would it be?

I’ve always held Youth Ki Awaaz in immense esteem as not just a robust digital content platform but a start up bristling with potential. I do feel there is scope for you guys to take it to the next level and perhaps associate with various international youth summits or conferences as knowledge partners of note and substance. The organic growth in popularity and influence of the platform is a terrific lesson for all and truly highlights what one promising idea can eventually translate into. In essence, there’s not much more one can ask from Youth ki Awaaz! Progressing along the course you guys have thus far, will continue to see you make a dent in the universe, as my idol Steve Jobs would say 🙂

Q5: What do you like to do when you’re not writing, or thinking about pressing issues, or just working?

Working on new entrepreneurial ideas takes up some of my time, in addition to currently pursuing my MBA. I’m voracious reader and try to expand my knowledge and understanding of a wide range of subjects from time to time. Additionally, I’m an avid Debater, Quizzer and wannabe Photographer. My newly discovered love for EDM has seen me try my hand on the console a few times with reasonable success (or so I’d like to think!). A Beer connoisseur, an evening out with my close friends, watching a game of Football, goes some way in “taking my mind off” some of the world’s most pressing problems!

Q6: What one question would you like to pose to your audience?

What is that one thing that you believe you can do to make a positive difference to the life of even a single person?

If you sincerely believe you have it in you to drive change through your words, thoughts or actions; the world is your oasis and the sky your limit. Start today. Start right now.

For more on Pradyut’s life and on-going efforts, follow him on Twitter at @Hande_Pradyut

You can follow his work at Youth Ki Awaaz at his column, Hand(e)l With Care.

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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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