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Shuja Gandhi From Champaran Is Daring And Simple

A simple boy from Champaran, Bihar set out from his home on a long and arduous journey. His inspiration was none other than Mahatma Gandhi. Perhaps, that is the secret of the inexhaustible mine of patience and perseverance of Shuja Gandhi.

His ideas were simple, yet when implemented turned out to be a very powerful and effective way to help people. He forms an instant connect with people and has friends from all walks of life. His simplicity has inspired a lot of youth, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The people inspired by him see him as a role model.

His popularity hasn’t come overnight or isn’t an outcome of controversies. He has worked, toiled and dedicated himself to the cause of helping people. He is there for people when they need him the most. You can always see pictures of a relatively lean and younger Shuja Gandhi, carrying relief materials for victims of Koshi floods, and now when Kerala was devastated with floods there was this man lending his helping hand to the fellow countrymen he loves so much.

It is very natural for a man who works in the Gandhian ideology to be aligned with the political process of the Congress. He was elected in the internal polls of Youth Congress and went on to be selected for a training and orientation program ( Aam Admi Ka Sipahi) close to Rahul Gandhi’s heart. From thereon, he donned many roles for his party as per the requirements and demands of the party. He played a very critical and important role in UP, Sikkim, Nagaland and Karnataka. Impressed by his dedication, the leadership always entrusted him with important tasks.

His political work was never a hindrance in his love to serve his country and his people, maybe the genes in his family of freedom fighters keeps him going despite all odds. At times, after fulfilling his duties for the party, he would be fatigued, but a call from a friend or volunteer in need, would get him back on his feet almost instantly.

Today, this man is revered by many. Many seek his guidance in politics as well as social work. He never lets the success and adulation get to his head. You can almost see him shrug it off and revert to his unassuming self almost immediately. He is, as most people call him, a young veteran who has witnessed the rise of the most common men and the fall of the most mighty men. He, for one, knows nothing is permanent, except hard work and dedication to the cause one believes in. It is the same mantra he passes on to people who work with him. One instance he was heard telling his fellow compatriot on being pestered about how his life has been progressing towards his aims. He instantly quipped back :

“मंज़िल से ज़रा कह दो,
अभी पहुँचा नहीं हूँ मैं,
मुश्किलें ज़रूर हैं,
मगर ठहरा नहीं हूँ मैं।”

( I haven’t reached my destination yet, there are a lot of difficulties still laying ahead but none have managed to stop me yet.)

Such is his popularity that his name started trending on Twitter on his birthday.

But he knows all of this is temporary and the work he has on his hands listens to no excuses. He, for one, knows that every thing in the world is replaceable and it happens as soon as one starts getting comfortable in their shoes. His favourite quote, he says that always keeps him on his toes is:

“तुम से पहले वो जो इक शख़्स यहाँ तख़्त-नशीं था

उस को भी अपने ख़ुदा होने पे इतना ही यक़ीं था”

(The government that was there before you, they also thought that they had become God and could do whatever they pleased.)

Almost philosophically, he says this quote is what every holy book of every religion tries to convey to its people, that never let power and wealth get you. Always keep working for the betterment of your country and humanity.

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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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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.

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Read more about her campaign.

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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.

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