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Reading Books Is Essential Even In The Age Of Digital Revolution

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Recently, I came across a video in which a surveyor roaming on the streets of US asked respondents to recall the name of any book they had read. You may think it’s an easy task, isn’t it? Not really. Not a single respondent could recall the name of a book they had read in the recent past!

I was surprised to see this. American citizens – all dressed up, looking smart, but unable to name any books? I was quite disappointed with their responses. I also had a hunch that if someone were to replicate this in any other city across the world, the result wouldn’t be much different.

The question here is not about where this event transpired. The ultimate fact is that we, as readers, are becoming a minority. People are reading less and less with each passing day. There can be many reasons why reading a book has lost its popularity among the masses, but restoring this habit is essential even in the age of digital revolution.

Reading is now increasingly being considered as a waste of the time. However, it is relevant today especially to the children of our times. This is why reading will always be relevant:

Reading Makes Us Happier And Wiser

Have you ever been in a casual conversation with book lovers?

They will always swear by the books they read. They will say that books keep them engaged, challenge them, tantalize their senses, and leave them wanting for more. All of this is only possible when you read a book.

Reading gives us a sense of purpose and fills our hearts with joy.

Books: A Man’s Best Friends

My grandfather used to repeat this several times a day, and I am sure you are also familiar with this phrase. It is not without reason that books are our best friends. They keep us afloat even in dire situations.

Books have recorded what the wise men of the world saw, heard, thought and discovered in their lifetimes.

Reading a book is not only a source of information and entertainment, but it also provides an avenue of retreat when life is unrelenting and hard.

In simple words, reading can help us escape from a mundane reality. It’s much more visceral than watching television or being engrossed on a mobile phone.

Reading Develops Our Mental Resources

Now, what are mental resources? They are the assets that our mind uses to enrich our lives. This may sound serious, but in fact, it is an automatic process in which our mind doesn’t sweat it out.

When we read something, it automatically gets fitted into the cognitive part of our mind. Further, according to the capacity of a mind, the knowledge acquired is used for our benefit.

Reading enhances the understanding of the rules of life. In short, a well-read person can change, adapt and fit into the society better.

Boosts Creativity and Imagination

The world is more than what we see.

A linear approach of practicality can’t always help us look beyond the obvious. And life is often stressful at its best. Creativity and imagination give us an alternative perspective to see our lives in a different light.

Reading enhances our creativity and shapes our imagination in a way no other can. Besides, it also helps reduce tension. A leisurely reading can refresh our mind.

Improves Communication Skills and Helps Us Focus

In today’s world, our communication skills and confident personality can help us succeed in anything we choose to pursue. The habit of consistent reading has always been an important aspect of improving our communication skills. It enriches our language skills by exposing us to words and phrases that we may not use in our everyday lives.

Reading also increases our attention span, especially in the age of quick technological solutions. It helps us focus better and for a longer period of time. It is the best medicine to cure a poor attention span.

Reading Also Has A Therapeutic Effect

Reading reduces stress, maintains the heart rate and lessens tension in our muscles. Apart from these benefits, it also keeps our memory sharp and learning capacity agile.

The relevance of reading is not limited to learning and education, but beyond as well.

So, with reading, we can accumulate a lot of knowledge and wisdom which can never be taken away from us. Reading encourages our curiosity which helps us to learn more about our surroundings. This indeed helps us in tackling the problems at hand in an effective manner. Ultimately, reading of any kind helps us develop a good image of ourselves and makes us a confident person.

Better start reading now!

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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 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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