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10 Reasons Why You Should Email PM Modi About Your Future, Right Now

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By Asmita Sarkar:

Our leaders, mouth words like, “everybody is equal, everybody’s rights matter. And everybody deserves health, education, livelihood, security among other facilities” at global conferences and summits. But the on-ground realities stand different.

Image source: action2015.org
Image source: action2015.org

The last few years saw the world deal with a health crisis like Ebola, a migrant crisis like that of Syria where over 4 million Syrian citizens have been displaced without the UNHRC anticipating a debacle this big. Aylan Kurdi’s heart-wrenching photograph only goes to show the challenges that the future generations, in conflict nations, will be going through. Even though it doesn’t make news, lives of over 1.7 million children in India are at risk due to preventable diseases, but lack access to healthcare. That’s more than 4600 child deaths a day.

Then, in this bid for development, are we really leaving no one behind?

24th September marks an important date. 193 countries will sit across the table and agree on 17 development goals. Goals that decide our future, and that of generations to come.

Forget not, that in 2001, these countries met and agreed upon 8 Millennium Development Goals but most countries did not keep up with them – mostly because there was no accountability mechanism, and a severe lack of people’s participation. The new goals are more important, and it is important that we engage with them to make sure our decision makers don’t forget their promises that they make on the international pedestal.

We need to ask for change now, in 2015. This is why you should care:

1. The 189 UN members had agreed to work on universal primary education in the Millennium Summit. The Right To Education Act in India, has been a result of that, but who’s to judge how effective the Act is. Even now 90% of Indian children don’t complete school. The Sustainable Development Goals, want to ensure that education is not only inclusive but also of good quality. With education comes innovation, awareness and empowerment, and without education we’re putting the future of this and the next generation at risk.

2. In spite of numerous schemes and policies declared by the government women’s security and gender discrimination continues to be a problem in India. Cases of domestic abuse still go unheard. While women are known to be the victims of abuse and violence more often, men are not far behind, especially sexual abuse, which is prevalent across genders.

3. Today, out of 24 hours you perhaps get water supply for only 5-6 hours, at home. Perhaps, you have water pumps installed that draws groundwater. This essential resource, that is getting increasingly privatized,  is literally vanishing from the rural areas to quench the luxuries of the urban spaces. When ensuring equality, life and health, access to water, then, becomes a mandate.

4. The world’s richest 80 people have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50%. This is no myth but a hard reality. While equality stays an unquantifiable word in the annals of UN charters, the rich continue to amass wealth. And the poor continues to languish. How does India intend to promote equality when it has been reducing its budget for public policy schemes in the last year?

5. Health facilities, for people across gender and ages. Whether old, young, child, woman or man, everybody needs to feel secure about their health to live to their fullest capability. With India’s measly 4% spending on health, how does it expect to keep the youngest workforce in the world happy?

6. Climate change is reducing the habitable land and creating natural disasters. Drought, which is the main reason for farmer suicides in the country today as well as manmade natural disasters, are all interconnected. The problem of climate has turned into a vicious cycle with no end in sight and even then the Indian Government recently made many environmental laws lax for highway and real estate projects.

7. Fuel wars have been raging on for a few decades now and it can only be expected to grow further if the energy problem is not addressed. Not only is the world running out of fossil fuels, it’s also turning our environment into a hazard. India’s increasing carbon emissions have been under debate. The expanding industries in the country need an overhaul in energy usage and we, the common masses, can do much by counting our carbon footprint and eventually reducing it.

8. The goals of peace, justice and strong institutions in terms of the human rights crisis in the world today should be at the top. There would be no way forward for humanity unless racism, casteism, gender discrimination is eradicated right away. And achieving these goals, isn’t just the responsibility of the government. We, need to be a part of these changes as much as the governments of our countries need to be involved in disseminating these policies.

9. India is blessed with a huge coastal line and the country’s waters is home to many species of marine life. Polluting our waters directly affects the lives of these water animals. Remember the dead whale that washed up on a beach in Maharashtra? Or the lakes in Bangalore that caught on fire?

10. Currently 35% of India’s urban population is living below the poverty line. With massive influx of people form rural areas into the cities, this number is only set to go up unless infrastructure and livelihood in rural areas is improved. While food security bill has been charted in India, the budgetary cuts that we have been seeing under the present government could just end up ignoring the goals of no poverty and zero hunger.

If you think that by the time Earth runs out its resources we would be gone, remember that our future generations will be inhabiting the filth and mess that we leave behind. These goals charted by the international bodies have been done for public welfare keeping the well-being of the present and future in mind. Our leaders, on those pedestals, where we put them on, are there for making sure that policies are implemented flawlessly, instead of selling out our futures for the greed of the present. What good are leaders without foresight?

Let’s take action now and create an equal, just and secure world order.

You can email Prime Minister Narendra Modi by visiting action2015.in

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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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