This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shweta Mehrotra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Open letter to my son !

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Its February 2018 n u have turned 9 already, sensible enough to sense with your conscious difference between synthetic and real.

My dear son you grew up in a country, where majority speaks language of religion n culture louder then it means in actual. Poverty, economic discrepancy, female feticide, child marriage, gender inequality, and medical facilities reach out challenges n many more such topics are still part of text books rather then a house hold issues.

Whenever we have travelled abroad n seen places which are serene and maintained by country citizen and government together, U always questioned me mummyyyyy (extended sound)

Why can’t we also get equally disciplined, towards our country?

Isn’t cleanness is our god mother?

What I loved the most about your question? Was the fact, that u were ready to take charge of your own behavior along keeping a faith,on your zeal to make things better by asking others to join you, but because of your sweet innocence, not ready to waste time in blaming government or corruption.

I also remember you seeing a lady technician, operating a crane at Chicago, made u question me 100 things, trying to understand why u don’t see such examples commonly, in your country and even knocked a plan of asking Laxmi and Suma aunty (our support staff ) their set of carrier interest areas.

Parth your mom had given enough emotions n time since her childhood to understand from her family and society, that why we devote so much time, money and efforts to matters like religion or any culture /social norms, which majority times might not be a reality and unfortunately leaving behind many other actual disciplines, which speaks louder, making us feel there existence and need.

I am confident enough my son, that you will do fine on your text knowledge, but always remember to stand strong in any given situation with your belief and learned principles, because its not easy to live and practice with discipline without sacrificing your belief.
On every phase of life, whenever you will take any efforts and decision for your friends, family or society which is selfless never going to be easy, will be out of your comfort zone.

Many situations will come, where you will be looking for a society approval, but always remember all the consequences of your action have to be faced by you, not by anyone else, so focus and listen to your inner voice, believe on your life learned principles, don’t worry for the rest that will come. ?

I and your father together, work very hard, so that we can give you and many other kids an equal place to live and breathe. Place where there is less pressure to prove to others, then to your own self, where equality is not asked?

# I want you to remember, that pink color doesn’t make boys or men look weak or silly.

# I want you to remember crying is all fine for boys/men as they too carry emotions. Btw your dad is much more emotional then your mom ?

# Want you to remember gender equality is all human rights, don’t let any ONE ask for it.

My dearest Son being unique and selfless is a human nature, never ever stop yourself for being human if not more.

Loads of Love

Mummy

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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.

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        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.

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        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.

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