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LSR Students Pass On The Gyaan On How To Ace The ECA Trials

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By Bhanvi Satija

The admission saga at Delhi University began with Stephen’s releasing its cut off at a whopping 99%. This seems to have set back quite a number of aspirants out there, since the same trend is expected when the cut offs finally release on June 25th. Meanwhile, the ECA and Sports category admissions and preliminaries started a few days ago from June 17th onwards. While this gives some hope to the aspirants who are good at either sports or some extra-curricular activity, there is still a long way to go.

Students applying under the ECA category have to deal with a bunch of additional decision making. Questions such as: which college do you want to apply to? And which activity do you want to apply in? Along with that additional anecdotes about how if you choose to take admission through ECA you would be stuck with that activity throughout college.

lsr dance society

 

While most students apply to as many colleges as possible for trials and/or submit their certificates to them, their list of preferred colleges is as much the same as about another thousand students out there. Lady Shri Ram College for Women, one of the most reputed institutions of Delhi University, often features on this list for many of us. (It sure did on mine, and even though I didn’t get through the ECA category, I did apply!) Invariably, the admissions in these preferred colleges is extremely competitive.

ECA at LSR is damn competitive. As everyone knows! There is approximately only one seat per course and only the best of the people in their field get in“, says Tarana Faroqi, a third year student of Journalism at LSR. Tarana got through the ECA category and she is currently the MUN Coordinator for the MUNSoc at LSR.

Eshna Kutty, a second year student of Psychology at LSR – one of the most preferred courses in the college, while sharing her experience says, “I remember losing complete hope because most colleges wanted to see a number of certificates and prizes in dancing and I had none to offer. Since the first round of elimination is based on those certificates, I obviously didn’t get through. On the other hand, LSR prefers videos over certificates. That’s what saved my academic life!

So one of the factors that could work in your favor would be that LSR decides on the basis of preliminary videos of performances or your work portfolio, instead of certificates and achievements.

Talking about the procedure after the prelims, Eshna says, “There was an audition, and right after that there was an interview of sorts by three teachers who convinced me to take History or Political Science over Psychology, since I was making the cutoff for those. They did the same with the other students too. Don’t fall for it!” Eshna, was very determined on what she wanted to do – for her, it was always course over college – “I made it pretty clear that it would be Course over College and that if I didn’t get Psychology, I’d probably go someplace else.

Tarana agrees to this philosophy, “At LSR especially, they see determination and potential – which is a reflection of how much you can contribute if you become a part of the college. You need to be focused about things. This is what they judge you on during the interview,” to which, Eshna adds that once you get through, the interview might not even feel like an interview, since the conversations varied from ‘Why Psychology?’ to ‘Do you go out clubbing with boys?’

In fact I don’t think they were interested in knowing anything conventional. ‘Why don’t you sing us a Carnatic song, and I might sing along’, said MG (the name that students lovingly call Meenakshi Gopinath, former principal of LSR). Or ‘Have you ever tried hooping while doing Sarvangasana? No? Well how about you hop onto that stage and try it right now’.

The list for the first round of selected applicants in the ECA category comes out on 24th of June, 2015. Keep an eye on the college notice board, here’s wishing you a good luck. “Just give it your best shot and don’t be afraid in the interview round,” says Tarana. To which, Eshna agrees and adds “LSR is an incredible institute, remember that everybody likes a confident person, but don’t fly. Be humble. There will always be other deserving people too, and you need to be at peace with that. And just have fun! It’s an experience to remember, whether you get in or not. If you do, great. If you don’t then you obviously are meant for greater things than ECA trials.

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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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