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14 Lessons To Make You Feel Empowered

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Learning and empowerment; belief and positivity; determination and perseverance are not lessons limited to a management student or a depressed being but to every human who rekindles his/ her vision to move out of the daily rut and strives to feel as well as live freely.

Through my session today at one of the TEDx conferences, as a youth, I have understood some basic yet 14 such transformational lessons from speakers who belonged to completely different fields. Yet, they had some of the most relatable suggestions, practices and stories from their own lives, that thoroughly described their journey from pain to passion and to power. Hence, achieving their respective roads to success; their visualized dreams that turned into a reality.

These should surely work for every youth, and for anyone who has a dream and wishes to empower herself as well as the world around:

Vipul Ujjwal, IAS Officer of 2009 batch of Punjab Cadre

  • Question yourself. Introspect within, as often as you can and ponder on what you presently assume as your wings to success, are they really so or are they just dead weights over you?
  • Move out of your comfort zone, move out of the room without all your luxuries in life. That’s where the first step towards hard work starts; when you give up on the comforts of life and but not on your dreams.
  • If you get a trigger that something is not right, change the direction rather than dumping yourself more and more into the dark phase of intentional failure.
  • Once you realise you have gained a certain amount of success in life, do not let that stage be your stagnation point. Keep moving and keep peddling. The building of success has infinite floors. Like they say, the sky is the limit and nowadays not even that!
  • Do not preserve the light within you. Be the lighthouse for the universe. Educate, enlighten and empower others. That shall be your real success in life.

Preeti Mann, Social Anthropologist

  • If you are stuck and genuinely want a solution, try to look into the core of the matter and come up with the most sustainable solution; the one that focuses on livelihood, health care and education.
  • Forever keep striving to remind yourself that anybody or a somebody was one day a nobody. If today you are that nobody, keep moving ahead, one step after another and soon you would be somebody for the rest of the world.

Sonal Sehgal, Indian Actress

  • The only difference between a successful and an unsuccessful person is the lack of opportunity. If you realise you are not getting one then create one for yourself.
  • Believe in yourself and do not let anyone else define or judge whether a particular idea that you have is good or bad. It is you who makes the best or the worst decision for yourself.

Chetan Mahajan, Founder and Coach, Himalayan Writing Retreat

  • Let the infinite failures make you a better person. Let the fears change you into the bravest of hearts. When you see yourself in adversity, don’t get bogged down but take it as a beginning to the next positive phase towards your success or passion in life.
  • Do not wait for your work to first get converted into the perfect version you dream of and then share with the outside world. Be a simple and an original version of you and the world will love you for it. The ‘not so good’ work in your eyes might be a record breaker for the rest.

Mohit Dubey, CEO, Board Member, Carwale

Love stories are equivalent to startups. Don’t doubt yourself from taking the first step or else the opportunity shall be lost; your prospect soul mate might reach into someone else’s hands. So, trust your instinct and just go for it.

Subir Malik, Founder, Organist and Manager for the legendary rock band Parikrama

Manage your time in a way that you gives you a couple of seconds to think through a problem and solve it, rather than complaining and cribbing about it. Troubles, hurdles and problems are a part of life. It depends on how you handle them.

Susan Vernon, Teacher, American Embassy School

Every episode of despair and further an acceptance of the failure should give you a bigger push to move on and do better in life. It must urge you to convert the failure into a great success and not the other way.

Put in your comments below if these learnings tickle you to know about these speaker’s hardship stories and I shall be more than glad to share those with you. They are definitely worth knowing.


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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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