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The Internet Helped Me Get Out Of My Shell And Build A Loving Community

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The internet is pretty weird, if you ask me. There are random dudes like this.

But, I’m not here to talk about any of that today.

The internet, in all its glory, has mostly been very kind to me. And I try my best to send out the kindness I receive into the digital universe, so that maybe, one day, creeps like the one mentioned above, slowly fade away.

I am a writer (or so I would like to call myself). I post a lot of my pieces on the internet and share them with the world. I have been writing since I was 10 years old, but it took me a lot of courage and support to put my work out there – though, I’m not super regular as my contemporaries with my posting. However, since the past two years, I have tried to build a community and be part of a larger community of online writers, specifically on Instagram.

While I’m not entirely sure how good my writing is, sometimes, my words seem to work on my readers.

Some days they tell me how I’ve said something they’re feeling or how my words have worked as an antidote for them. The feeling I get at that time is something I cannot possibly express, because it runs so deep, that words can’t explain how it feels to have connected with someone in such a way, despite the fact that I may know nothing about them or their life at all.

At first, when this started happening, I didn’t realize the depth of it. I thought they were just internet comments. I felt this way until the day, one of my regular readers, who has muscular dystrophy, told me how my writing has helped him stay motivated. I didn’t know how to react.

Then, there is a reader from Brazil who has constantly encouraged me to do what I do, and the time when a student in South Africa wanted to recite a poem I had written. All of this is extremely overwhelming.

Like I said, I used to think they’re just comments on the internet. But soon, I learned that these were real people with real feelings, wanting to tell a complete stranger how something that came out of my own darkness or light, has affected them in a certain way. I don’t think I can ever experience something as beautiful as the connecting of human souls with each other. And this makes me understand how important it is to respect the community that the internet, as a whole, is. It makes me see how all of us can peacefully coexist and help each other.

The thing about online communities, no matter how big or small, is the support system they create. Many pieces that I write, sometimes come from a dark place, or maybe on days when I feel very low. On such days, there have been many times when I have received a heartfelt message from a reader to ‘hang in there’. Or, if I didn’t post for a few days, someone would check in to see if I’m okay.

My community of readers, although not very large, has helped me through certain dark times. Some of their comments and messages have enabled me to get out of my shell and accept myself for who I am. They encouraged me to try spoken word poetry, something that I had been putting off for the past three years because I thought I couldn’t do it, even though I desperately wanted to.


And the community isn’t limited to those who admire my work. It also consists of others, whose writings are truly inspiring. It is full of people who I have never met, and probably never will – but writing collaborations and exchange of ideas with them have made these people my friends, no matter what corner of the world they live in.

I understand how this is just the nice side of it. There is the ‘followers game’ involved, but honestly, once you stop playing that game, you start to see how your own work improves and starts to attract the followers you wanted. I believe it’s all about what you put out there. If you put out good vibes, you’ll get them back. You don’t need to maintain an image. You need to be you, because someone on the other side of a screen probably needs to see something positive or empathizing, and maybe sometimes you need to see good things too. So why must we live lies?

The internet is full of trolls, but it’s also full of people who want to make the world a better place. It may disappoint us quite often, but there are times when the internet totally wins too! What we need to do is to keep the candle of kindness burning, even though we may feel it’s not enough to push the darkness away. The internet should not be a place for hate, so instead of putting an extra filter on that selfie, why don’t you put one to your thoughts and spread some love and positivity?

If you want to check out what I do, or just drop by to say ‘hi’ and have a chat, you can find me here

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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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