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What Happened When I Chose My Passions Over An MBA Degree

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By Prakriti Sharma:

After completing my graduation in Botany, I had a crucial decision to make – what next?

Many say that I wasted my time in college. While all around me, people were busy getting internships to add to their CV, I did none of that. It’s because I couldn’t say that I knew what I wanted to do in life. And because I never found the kind of work I was into, I considered it better to not work at all than working in a field that would be irrelevant to me.

But even so,  I’ve always known the two areas I was interested in – sustainable development and filmmaking. However, these interests being far apart, I never knew how to amalgamate them, but I was also too attached to both of them to let go of either.

Taking Decisions

After a lot of thought, I decided to pursue an MBA in Public Policy which would help me get into Environmental Policies. I considered it to be a safer choice because I thought it was a more conventional option that that would satisfy the people around me. So, I gave CAT and scored a decent enough percentile to get calls from good colleges all over India. I cleared a few interviews and even got selected in a few institutes.

But something just didn’t seem right. It felt like I was chasing money, and not what I was interested in. It felt like I had been convincing myself all this while that this was the right choice, but always knew how that wasn’t the case at all.

Coping With Failure

Hence, I dropped the idea of doing an MBA and decided to leave the idea of environmental studies and pursue filmmaking. Mails from the placement cell of my college continued to stack up in my inbox, but I didn’t give them a read since I was still adamant to study more and not work. I gave entrances for filmmaking courses but couldn’t clear any of them.

Initially, I had to choose between one of my two interests, but now, I had nothing in hand despite chasing them both. I was almost close to giving up.

That’s when I finally decided to delay or even give up the idea of studying further and started giving those placement cell mails a read.

I came across Claro Energy, a company that worked to provide solar-powered irrigation and drinking water facilities in off-grid rural areas, which required a Marketing Associate. The job required general research work and content creation, but I applied for it since the company was a part of the sustainable sector.

Working With Claro Energy

I went on to give the interview for the company and told them about my underlying interest in filmmaking. I distinctly remember how honest I was. I recalled my interviews for MBA and filmmaking, and how I had to forcefully tilt my interests on a definite side to convince the panellists.

I did not want another rejection but I still spoke my heart.

I received a call one week after the interview and was told that I was selected as an intern to work in the company. Because I had nothing in hand and this was something I had been looking forward to, I accepted the offer, all the while going through different courses in colleges which offered Masters in Sustainability Science.

I joined a week later. Today, I consider it one of the best decisions I’ve taken so far. I got to travel to remote sites where solar-powered pumps had been installed by the company and realised the importance of water.

The fact that water scarcity is not a bigger concern among most of the privileged scared me. The internship brought me closer to seeing the problems that the world was facing and helped me realise what I wanted to do. I clicked pictures wherever I went and tried to induce my love for filmmaking by making small video montages for the company. I realised that giving up on my interests wasn’t the solution. I wasn’t a failure; it was just that I hadn’t known exactly how to go about pursuing my interests.

Realising The Dream

While working on a case study of the work the company had done in Telangana, I found details that left me shocked but hopeful. Peerla Banda Tanda, is a village in Rangareddy district, with a population of a mere 120 people. Despite grid connectivity, there is an irregular and negligible power supply. The villagers didn’t have the basic requirement of proper access to electricity supply to make their borewell pumps run and had to walk miles just to collect a few litres of drinking water. The situation was so grave that villagers were forced to use water only for drinking purposes and had to go without bathing and cleaning for many days.

When Claro installed a solar water pump there, it not only helped the villagers get access to on-demand clean drinking water every day but also incorporated storage of water in overhead tanks. Their basic needs – such as bathing daily, proper sanitation – were finally met. It was disheartening to see how water has become a luxury rather than a right. This story of change finally made me realise that sustainable development needs attention and bringing such brilliant work to the fore was what I wanted in life.

New Beginnings

I now want to use documentary filmmaking as an avenue to spread awareness about the issues that are relevant to the world. I have also gotten through a university which offers a course providing skills for dealing with real-world problems of sustainable development.

It was surprising to see how things worked out for me in the end. I’m happy the way things turned out, but I still do regret not doing a lot of things that I could have. I still don’t know if things are going to work out for me, it’s just the start. I am just sure I will never stop myself from trying out new things, for you never know what life has in store for you.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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