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Percentages, Paperwork And Excited Students: North Campus In A Frenzy After 2nd Cut-Off

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The second cut-off list for Delhi University was announced on July 25 and saw students and parents rush to their college of choice in a frenzy, eager to reserve a seat and seal a dream.

North Campus wears the cape of excellence on the Delhi University report card, and hence, colleges are seized with a sort of manic activity when admissions open. The student, especially if they land in Hindu or Ramjas, is greeted at the front gate by help desks plastered with posters and occupied by volunteers of student parties like the ABVP and the NSUI, equally eager to help and expand their ranks.

One student who was granted admission in Ramjas College for BA Hindi said the most exhilarating moment for him was when the teacher-in-charge calculated his percentage and compared it with the cut-off, telling him he could be admitted. The subsequent strain and labour of technicalities and paperwork seem to blur, even if they have to spend hours waiting for the final slip of confirmation. One student from Madhya Pradesh, who got enrolled at Daulat Ram College for BA Programme was chirpy and animated, so was her father who accompanied her, saying that she faced no hardship in the process and mentioned Daulat Ram as her top choice.

There is also the annoyance and despair of those who seek admission unaware of a 2.5% deduction for stream or subject change, and 5% for language, and are therefore denied admission.

A lady along with her daughter, sitting opposite St.Stephens College, knitted her eyebrows together in anger when asked the reason for not getting admission. There is also a curious phenomenon of students travelling to each college in the campus to see if they can be admitted. A student who had just walked out of Ramjas was double checking the cutoffs to see if there was another college he could get admitted to, and proceeded to talk to this parents asking which college he could go to next. The desperation is palpable even on the roads and pavements that connect these colleges, the heat as a deterrent fails most miserably in Vishwavidyalaya.

Outstation students stand out in their effort to acclimatise themselves to the manner of the new city and their microcosmic first-view of it that a college doles out to anyone present inside it during admissions. It is common to find students along with a parent touring the hallways of a college with their luggage, seeking information and hoping for a quick and smooth admission. These students have to undertake the additional harrowing task of seeking accommodation near the college, relying on word of mouth and limited knowledge for reviews and suggestions of guest houses and hostels. A student from Bhopal waiting for her admission confirmation slip in Hindu said, “I have heard it is hard to get admission in the hostel and only top students get it and then also the fees is very high.” Recently, a professor of Delhi University posted about two students who withdrew admission on hearing the cost of hostel accommodation provided by the University, highlighting how this unavailability was erasing the “public” nature of the university, in the light of recent talks of autonomy for colleges.

Conversations brew over Boards mark sheets among students as well as parents, awkwardly trying to gauge each others’ opinion of various colleges and courses. The waiting room stimulates innocent, innocuous chatter like no other, if only out of boredom and often, vexed parents who have been waiting for several hours yelling at a student volunteer or in charge unable to wait for the ordeal to end.

Inside classrooms allocated for form filling according to course, teachers can be seen helping students navigate through forms and explaining to parents how many photocopies need to be produced from Patel Chest or the college photocopy shop. Outside some classrooms, teachers are also seen speaking to students about the course, clarifying their doubts and mitigating their anxieties. An outstation student getting admission in Ramjas College for History said, “The teacher told me about the atmosphere of the college and the course. She was very sweet and welcoming. I was scared earlier, but now I feel comfortable.”

The Delhi University campus becomes a melting-pot of intense feelings during the admission season, there is apprehension and fear but also excitement and urgency. Colleges await their fill of new faces and dreams, eager to groom and accommodate them, through a process that tires, vexes and yet excites. The invitation is extended to the students of the entire country, but only a few can, and even fewer will undertake this journey to the heart of Delhi.

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Image source: Sanchit Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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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.

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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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