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The Story Of A Young Man Who Fought The Odds And Beat Suicidal Thoughts

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Yes, everyone has a story to tell.

You don’t have to be very successful to tell a story. Like stepping on Mars like a martian. Anyway, that’s not a true story. Even a story from our daily life can be inspiring. If we solve our everyday problems every day, it is a success.

I want to tell this story because there is a purpose. I decided to tell his story because I want his voice to be heard as we have seen many suicides recently.

This is his story. A story of a fighter.

I will tell you why he is a fighter. If you go and spend a day with him you will know he is a fighter.

After surviving a stormy journey on a cruise he went straight away to the casino and played a great game of poker from morning till night and lost all his money. Exam fee, flight money to travel to India for his sisters’ marriage. There was no money left for it. All the money was gone. Literally, nothing, not even a single penny to get back home.

Then he was almost hit by a car.

He was then attacked by a gang. A gun was pointed at him. He thought he was going to die at the moment.  They took his phone, empty wallet and gold chain from him, beat him very badly, threw a gun at his face. That’s when he realised it was a dummy gun. He was depressed and mentally shaken.

You will be shocked to know what happened the next morning. Another disaster. There was an earthquake of 6.8 on the richter scale. He jumped out of the fourth floor to the third floor of the next building. His room was damaged badly. His laptop and all his bags were destroyed. He had to leave everything right away and felt like committing suicide at that moment.

All this took place in 24 hours.

He started staying in his landlord’s house temporarily. He didn’t have money to go to college. He searched and found few coins in his pocket and went to college with a few coins. He wrote his exams well. He was thinking of how to get back. At that moment, his classmate challenged him to a bet. He won and took 200 bucks from the classmate even though he didn’t like it.

At that moment, he realised that he could solve his problems. He realised that he still had two months to attend his sisters’ marriage to meet his family after three years. Then he decided that he had to meet his family after two months for his sister’s marriage.

He took a new room which was very cheap. The room he lived in previously had all the luxuries. He eventually took up a job in an Indian restaurant as a cook. Cooking all the Indian dishes with help from his teacher – YouTube. He worked there for a decent salary.  He started doing his classmates’ assignments and charge ₹100 for each one he did.  And luckily, he wrote all the assignments differently. He had cut off all his bad habits and had started saving money to attend his sisters’ marriage.

He also started writing good notes during the class and sold it to his classmates only during the exams. In this process, he studied well too. He was so stressed, pressurised, depressed and lonely. However, he still fought.

Then the moment came to buy the flight ticket. It was too expensive. He just postponed his journey to five days, took the cheapest flight with just a backpack to his home. His friend helped him with the ticket. He realised friends help but up to a certain limit.

On the day of taking the flight, he sat with a bag on his lap. He felt like he had achieved something great in his life and remembered the moments he tried to commit suicide, how hard he had worked to overcome his problems.

Finally, he went to his sisters’ marriage. Everyone was waiting in the house for him. They cried after seeing him. That’s when he realised that he had lost a lot of weight. He started crying too since he was seeing his parents after three years. They hugged each other.

There is no winner or loser in the world. Everybody has a story. It’s about how well you write it.

Each and every problem in life has a solution. There may be problems related to education, business, money, addictive habits, depression, loneliness. Yet, anything can be overcome in life.

Suicide is the not the solution to the smaller problems in life. There is a lot left after the problems. Let us try to overcome them.

Life is precious.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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.

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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 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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