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Is Goa Your ‘Party Destination’? Bet You Still Don’t Know These 10 Things About It

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By Lipi Mehta:

1) Goa is the second most dangerous place for foreign tourists in the country, after Delhi. In fact, the UK Government’s foreign travel guidelines instruct tourists to be cautious in Goa and mention that British women have been sexually assaulted there. There’s news from other countries as well. And it doesn’t help at all when you file a complaint and the Goa police shames you instead of taking action.

Tourists relax at the Anjuna beach in the western Indian state of Goa March 14, 2008. Goa police, investigating the rape and murder of a British teenager, said on Friday they were willing to reopen past cases of suspicious deaths if they received fresh requests. Police said a bartender raped and drugged Scarlett Keeling, 15, and left her to die in shallow sea waters on Feb. 18. But her mother Fiona MacKeown has said her daughter was assaulted for resisting rape and then murdered. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA) - RTR1YA9R
Image credit: Reuters/Punit Paranjpe.

2) Thousands of women and children are trafficked to Goa every year and are sexually exploited or forced into labour. Over 5,000 women and children were rescued from “various forms of modern-day slavery” in Goa in the first 10 months of 2015, according to Home Ministry data. And if you still find these facts difficult to believe, you would do well to watch this film.

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For representation only. Source: Flickr.

3) For one of India’s largest tourist destinations, Goa’s public transport mechanism is in shambles. Buses themselves are overcrowded and most rickshaws and taxis don’t have meters. On April 11, 2016, nearly 15,000 taxi drivers went on strike to voice their concerns and protect their business against rent-a-cab vehicles and around 7,000 bikes being illegally rented! The taxi drivers themselves are often called the ‘taxi mafia’, as they charge exorbitant rates, don’t allow other players to enter the market and, thus, leave no choice for customers.

2349353960_ef2cf71447_b
Source: Flickr.

4) A massive ‘garbage mountain’ in Sonsodo, about seven kilometres from Margoa, holds 40 years of accumulated waste! According to this report, over the past 3 years, new waste has been segregated and treated but nothing has been done about four decades of garbage!

sonsodo_garbage
Source: Goa Streets.

5) Cases of illegal mining amounting to a whopping Rs. 35,000 crore were uncovered in 2012 by the Justice M. B. Shah Committee report, post which mining was banned in the state till 2014. State government officials were also indicted in the matter. After facing a loss of Rs. 5,000 crore due to this ban, the state expects to make a profit of Rs. 300-400 crore from mining this year.

Mining
For representation only.

6) Goa’s carnival last year imposed a strict dress code to “check obscenity”. This is shocking since it is supposed to be a liberating space, where multiple identities and sexualities are celebrated, and not subjected to moral policing.

goa-carnival

7) CM Laxmikant Parsekar actually considered lifting the ban on bullfighting in the state to attract more tourists. In his words, “Just imagine the amount of revenue the sport can generate if it is undertaken formally.” Last heard in May 2016, the Government said it wouldn’t lift the ban, after strong opposition by animal protection groups.

bullfighting

8) There is a growing substance abuse problem with youngsters in Goa, with even school children doing drugs, as per a report by Kripa Foundation, an NGO working on de-addiction. The case of two youngsters (aged 26 and 27) dying of a suspected drug overdose had shocked the entire state though police response was “lethargic”, according to a local MLA.

14741349806_aa7cadc82c_k
Source: Flickr.

9) After Goa was liberated from the Portuguese, there were a series of agitations about Konkani being the official language of the state versus Marathi. In 1986-87, in an 18-month long agitation, eight people lost their lives in the violence and the state was gripped with tension. In February 1987, the government passed a bill and proclaimed Konkani as the state’s official language. However, Marathi is again finding its way back into schools, and that has led to a renewed controversy.

St._Anthony_High_School,_Majorda
Representation only. Source: Wikipedia.

10) Lastly, politicians in Goa have made some ridiculous remarks about serious issues, and we hope this stops! Minister Ramesh Tawadkar said the government was thinking about starting centres to make LGBT youths ‘normal’ (he later said he was misquoted); Minister Dilip Parulekar called five men accused of rape ‘naive’ and said these were ‘small crimes’; and CM Laxmikant Parsekar said that persons with disabilities were born due to a ‘mistake’ and ‘negligence’ by God.

inside_article
Left to right: Laxmikant Parsekar, Dilip Parulekar, Ramesh Tawadkar.

‘Nuff said. That’s us busting the mainstream narrative on Goa.

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Source: Giphy.

Featured image source: Flickr.

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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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