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How Virtual Internships Helped Me Build A Career Across Different Cities

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Honestly, I had never thought that I would be actively looking out for internships at the age of 30! I’m an outgoing, independent, and cheerful person with a perpetual love for travelling and food. I completed my post-graduation in biotechnology from Bangalore. After many interviews, I finally landed a job in Deluxe Digicaptions. Although the profile I was selected for (client lead) had nothing to do with biotechnology, I was really excited about getting a job! The projects revolved around manual testing and I learned a great deal, not just about work but life in general. I also became more responsible and was happy I could pitch in with the expenses at home. I took pride in the fact that I was proving the whole ideology of girls being a burden wrong.

So, when it was time for me to get married, I was filled with apprehension, having heard many stories from other married women. Would I be able to work? Would I even have the choice to decide whether I wanted to work or not? Would I be able to manage both work and my new responsibilities? I knew I wasn’t ready and told my parents to give me some time and that I would tell them when I was ready. Alas, this ‘some time’ turned out to be many years! The more I worked, the more I fell in love with the independence and the satisfaction that came with the job. When I finally did say yes (much to my parents’ relief), it was to a man who works for the government of India and whose job requires constant travel. Luckily for me, he happened to be a very understanding person who was fine if I did not want to leave everything and trail him around the country. My in-laws were also supportive and encouraged me to work!

Thus began our long-distance marriage. I stayed back in Bangalore and continued with my job, while my husband continued his in northeast India. After a year’s separation, when my husband’s job brought him to Hyderabad, I decided to go there with him. This, of course, meant I had to leave my very stable job. However, there were a lot of job opportunities in Hyderabad. I started my job hunt as soon as we were in Hyderabad. After two months, however, I still had no job. Having worked continuously for five and half years, that two-month break was somehow not as relaxing as I had imagined it would be. I started losing my confidence and feared that I was probably not good enough for any job.

While looking at various job portals, I happened to stumble upon Internshala. As I had never heard about this website before, I decided to explore it. I realized that it was an internship portal, but I found assorted internship options which intrigued me. For the most part of my life, I had been surrounded by creative people whereas I stuck out like a sore thumb with no special talent to put on the table. So, I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at diverse jobs that I had always wanted to do. Through Internshala, I now had opportunities to work from home or choose an internship which required me to work in the office for only a brief period as per my availability. It truly became a “my life, my choice” experience! I could try new things and hopefully make a career out of it, without living far away from my family.

I started applying in various fields and was first hired by Empower Labs, but due to the commute distance, I was unable to pursue it. Then, I started applying to internships in the field of writing and digital marketing. A lot of these companies were started by extremely talented youngsters, fresh out of college with bright ideas. I remember in one of the interviews, I was asked why I was looking for an internship after five years of work experience. I simply replied that learning never comes with an expiration date! Soon, I got hired for a content writing internship at a company called the Weekend Thrill. My job was to write short articles related to travel and tourism. The fact that I kept travelling with my husband as his job locations changed, helped me in this! Soon, I was also hired as a video curator intern at Venera Technologies Private Limited. The Venera team was very patient with my questions, gave me constant feedback, and I enjoyed the work immensely! A few weeks later, when I saw my name on their website as one of the notable curators, I was ecstatic!

In the end, I would just say that in this ever-growing world, there is no dearth of knowledge. You are never too young or too old to learn something new! Irrespective of whether you are a school student, college student, or a housewife, don’t let your age or the circumstances stop you from uncovering the best in you. Don’t waste precious time to second-guessing and self-doubt; just go ahead and take a leap of faith!

About the Author: Pallavi Bhaskar is a homemaker who left her job to live with her husband in the same city. She shares how virtual internships helped her manage her career and family efficiently! This story was first published on Internshala.

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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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