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Transitions Can Be Dangerous!

Transition Frustrates!
Maybe frustration is not the right word to say for what I feel when phase of transition comes from 1 stage to another. Maybe it is more of stress and anxiety. I myself have faced this at different transition levels from school to Bachelors and from Bachelors to grad school, then from grad school to professional world(currently a Gandhi Fellow). This might have happened because I had been in my own comfort zone which had to be left while going from one phase to another. On the other hand, the temptations from the next phase also call for us to move forward and leave the comfort zone in order to achieve something bigger than what we have right now.
As a part of curriculum of my fellowship, I, currently, am living in a village of Surat district with a motive of knowing the community from within. The village I am living in is divided into two sections – one of kathiyawadis and the other harpativaas (backward class) along with the jogiwada (class of beggars). There is quite a distinction in these communities in terms of their lifestyle and living standards. The kathiyawadis are progressive and are moving towards advancement at a very fast pace. On the other hand, the backward class is fighting hard to better their living standards and provide their kids the basic commodities of healthy living. The families(mostly kathiyawadis) which have managed to reach the standards like those of urban middle class families are in the transition phase from rural to urban India. Here are few observations made in last 15 days of my stay regarding these transiting families (Here particularly respective families of 2 brothers are described with whom I have been living):
1. There are 4 members in the family sitting together in one hall: one watching television(usually the mom), other 3(dad and 2 children in their early twenties) are busy with their smartphones either chatting or playing some silly but interesting game. This is the practice of almost daily.
2. The usual conversations are limited to “Khana kha lo” and similar orders for the common day to day processes. No deeper conversations observed in these many days.
3. The grandparents are hardly talked to, frequency is as low as once in 3 days.
4. The home keeper(the mother) wants every modern facility and equipment in her home but will work in traditional way only, which ultimately makes the household work more cumbersome despite of availability of all the facilities.
5. They can spend on all the unnecessary stuff like clothes every month but an uninvited guest(their kid’s friend or a cousin) at dinner hurts them a lot and suddenly that 1 extra mouth to feed becomes financial burden on them.
5. They have everything required for a healthy and prosperous living but are always unhappy.
Many more such observations are made everyday which saddens me that how smaller we get in humanity and our ethics as we grow bigger economically. This is the state of the rural India which is trying really hard to urbanize itself such that it wants each n every commodity which says they are a modern family just to show but not to use. The affection and care which I have always seen and had in my family inspite of all the sufferings we had is replaced by isolation and selfishness in these transiting families. Members of the families don’t even know each other’s feelings or what is happening in their respective individual workspace. They don’t even bother to know about each other. That’s how our nation is growing economically but deteriorating in the happiness index.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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