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As A Generation Driven By Passion, We’ve Forgotten The Value Of Hard Work

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In today’s day and age, the amount of misconceptions we regard as the gospel truth are staggering. The concepts of passion and procrastination have been incorporated into our being. Hard-work seems like an ancient phenomenon. Who am I blaming? Even I’m prey to this mentality.

Every crisis in my life has been about losing interest after obsessing over something for a long period. Varied interests have only served as hindrances because I’ve catapulted from one keen interest to another. I’ve molded one interest into an apparent passion and then, very conveniently, I’ve trashed it in the name of moving forward with what concerns me in the present.

The stack of information and theories, the research and the Buzzfeed quizzes that have been thrown my way have only left me perplexed. I feel like my entire generation has been thrown into a box full of angst and anxiety.

I’ve been labeled above-average at so many things that I fail to understand what is it that I’m actually interested in. I wish I had limited options – viable, but limited options. I wish I wasn’t dreaming of writing a film sitting in my ‘urban poor’ bubble.

I wish I hadn’t read Sigmund Freud or Plautus. I wish that as a 10-year-old, I would have stopped dreaming of trying to one day beat Michael Phelps at his game.

Whether it’s relationships or job opportunities, the innumerable options available only make me incapable and indecisive while everybody expects my over-indulgent self to excel.

I’ve delved deep into behavioral psychology, into deep dark waters, and into the magical world of words and I’m struggling to make a choice between the innumerable passions that seemingly surround me.

The concept of change encapsulates fear and excitement with such finesse that we’re all magnetically drawn to it. In this day and age of extreme competitiveness, I’m fighting the battle of whether or not I ought to stand out.

I’m sure that I don’t stand alone in this debate that I have with myself every night, turning and tossing in my cozy bed of privilege.

Time and again, I’ve been acquainted with the idea of owning the skill but so often have I been stung by the incapability of creating something magnificent out of it.

As a generation, we’ve been fed with ideas like our passion driving our profession and of seemingly effortless jobs – so much so that we’re indifferent to working hard to achieve immortality in terms of creativity.

We’re fighting patriarchy while living in homes driven by it, we’re raging feminists who are yet to undo their own sexist conditioning. We’re looking for that one thing that will make us look like a force to reckon with when we know that it is consistency, and consistency alone, that makes for a polished draft; that every job is a nine to five job, but it is overtime work that makes it look like you went the extra mile.

Ambition is misunderstood as one’s identity, which is why we’ve made it the sole source of receiving validation from what we refer to as our society. I don’t understand why what defines us is what we do for a living, when most of us are unhappy doing it.

I, for one, had the privilege of pursuing an unorthodox degree and further deciding upon an unorthodox field as my career path because it is an emotion that my parents felt lacking in their day and age. It surprises me that even in the context of an urban life, most people I know still don’t have this privilege.

I’m a 20-year-old pursuing a degree in English Literature from Delhi University with a keen interest in cinema and stand-up comedy, and it wasn’t making the decision of shifting to Mumbai that was tough, it was addressing it in front of my friends and family.

I’m unaware if it is the fear of failure, or diving into an ocean of the unknown, or the fact that I’m going to quit all this comfort for something which appears so insignificant to the people in my immediate surroundings – but so far, I’ve managed to accept it and decided to take the plunge without thinking of what the consequences might be.

I have a few months ahead of me till this drastic change will be my accomplice, and despite how much I despise my ambition becoming my identity, I’m going to have to spend the next six months continuing to explain to my mother why it is so important for me to see if I’m capable of becoming what I someday hope to be.

During a screenwriting workshop, my mentor (Satyanshu Singh) mentioned how what unifies people into feeling an emotion during a film is the creator understanding the importance of providing catharsis and that’s when I knew what I wanted to be.

I’m still unaware of the medium I’ll end up choosing, but I know that I want to be on that end of the spectrum, I want to provide people with that cathartic experience.

In my ambition, I’ve put a pin on purpose and that is what has made it easier for me to decide. My passion might fade, contrary to popular belief, but the need to fulfill a purpose wouldn’t be a fire waiting to be stifled.

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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, 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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