In 2018, These 33 Writers Boldly Spoke Truth To Power On Youth Ki Awaaz

At the centre of every conversation on Youth Ki Awaaz are its users who have not only participated but also started powerful conversations in digital media. In 2018, we saw thousands of you join the platform to make it your own and speak up about issues ranging from politics, current affairs and sexual violence to popular culture, gender and social media.

As we gear up for a better 2019, here are the users that brought forward some of the most powerful stories and experiences on YKA in 2018. These extraordinary people just like you continue using the platform to speak up on things that matter:

1. Aishwarya Sandeep

A mother’s perspective on the debate around breastfeeding after Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi published a photograph of a model breastfeeding a newborn and looking directly into the camera.

When Food Offends

Follow Aishwarya on Youth Ki Awaaz.


2. Ambar Sharma

In memory of India’s most loved Prime Ministers.

Every Time Atalji Made A Speech, His Aura Shone Through The Screen

Follow Ambar on Youth Ki Awaaz.


3. Arjun Gupta

What we really need to understand about mental health and how to approach it.

These Misconceptions About Psychiatry In India Are Worsening Our Mental Health Crisis

Follow Arjun on Youth Ki Awaaz.


4. Arunchandra C

Trolling at its worst.

Twitter Responses To Tanushree Dutta’s Claims Show Why Women Don’t Talk About Sexual Assault

Follow Arunchandra on Youth Ki Awaaz.


5. Bindita Sinha

An exclusive report on the exploitation of paper mill workers in Assam’s Silchar.

‘My People Are Dying’: 1 Lakh Paper Mill Workers Continue To Suffer In Assam

Follow Bindita on Youth Ki Awaaz.


6. Dr. Ramachandra Reddy

An unforgettable trip to the brand-new IKEA store in Hyderabad.

My Visit To IKEA Reminded Me Of A Pilgrimage To Tirumala

Follow Dr. Reddy on Youth Ki Awaaz.


7. Dibyajyoti Gogoi

Inspiring stories from the heart of rural India about young Indians changing lives around them.

How 12 Young Graduates Are Helping Bihar’s Poor Villagers Start Their Own Businesses

Follow Dibyajyoti on Youth Ki Awaaz.


8. Dua Subzwari

Smashing the stereotypes around women who choose to wear a hijab.

My Hijab Doesn’t Decide My Abilities, I do

Follow Dua on Youth Ki Awaaz.


9. Frank Huzur

Is Prashant Kishor really a successful political strategist?

Opinion: Prashant Kishor Peddles Lies And Manufactures Bubbles For His Political Clients

Follow Frank on Youth Ki Awaaz.


10. Jay Velury

The truth behind the claim that Sardar Patel was the sole reason why India is a united country.

Explained: The Myth About Sardar Patel “Unifying” India Alone

Follow Jay on Youth Ki Awaaz.


11. Joyeeta Talukdar

A beautiful love story from the tea gardens of Assam.

As A Teenager, I Didn’t Know That I Was Living With Two Mothers

Follow Joyeeta on Youth Ki Awaaz.


12. Manvi Singh

Average, and proud!

I Am Proud Of Being A Mediocre Student!

Follow Manvi on Youth Ki Awaaz.


13. Mrittunjoy Guha Majumdar

An in-depth perspective on the farmers’ crisis and how it can be addressed.

Indian Agriculture Sector: What Is Wrong And How It Can Be Made Better

Follow Mrittunjoy on Youth Ki Awaaz.


14. Pillai Vishnu

A shocking revelation about the NEET exam.

NEET PG Scam 2018: What Is The Future For India’s Doctors If Seats Are Being Bought?

Follow Pillai Vishnu on Youth Ki Awaaz.


15. Raghvendra Shikhrani

A conversation with the brave young woman who came out on national TV.

Meet Ankita, The 20-Year-Old Roadies Contestant Who Came Out On National TV

Follow Raghvendra on Youth Ki Awaaz.


16. Ramneet Kaur

The government wants you to ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’, but is this what it is for?

‘A Girl Should Be Educated, But Only Enough To Get A Good Rishta’

Follow Ramneet on Youth Ki Awaaz.


17. Ranjeet Menon

The battle for 2019 has just begun, should Congress’ victory be seen as a sign?

Why Assembly Election Results In The Hindi Heartland Are Not A Cause To Cheer

Follow Ranjeet on Youth Ki Awaaz.


18. Sanobar Fatma

An inhuman practice, illegal since 1993, but still a forced means to survival for 1.8 million Indians.

Since 1993, Not One Person Has Been Held Accountable For What Is India’s Shameful Legacy

Follow Sanobar on Youth Ki Awaaz.


19. Saurabh Parmar

The police in India – responsible for numerous injustices against the public, but also caught in a cycle of exploitation.

The Police System Is Crumbling Under Its Own Functioning

Follow Saurabh on Youth Ki Awaaz.


20. Sayantan Ghosh

There’s no point of #MeToo if men still don’t understand consent.

From Consent To Compliment: 5 Important Words Men Could Have Learned Much Earlier

Follow Sayantan on Youth Ki Awaaz.


21. Shakeel Ahmad

The top news stories from our very own citizen news reporter.

Opinion: From ‘Pappu’ To ‘Baazigar’, Rahul Gandhi Has Had An Incredible Transformation

Follow Shakeel on Youth Ki Awaaz.


22. Sharvani Sharma

No one must be left behind in the fight for equality.

Extending The Scope Of MeToo Movement To Make It More Inclusive

Follow Sharvani on Youth Ki Awaaz.


23. Sumantra Mukherjee

The story of every Adivasi living in the cocoon of their tea estate, completely detached from the socio-economic culture of their family.

First Trafficked, Then Overworked: The Lives Of Adivasi Women In Assam’s Tea Estates

Follow Sumantra on Youth Ki Awaaz.


24. The Guy in Mumbai

Perspectives on popular culture that really push you to think about how it affects society and the way we think.

Troubling But True: The Sexual Dynamics In ‘Sacred Games’

Follow The Guy in Mumbai on Youth Ki Awaaz.


Apart from our incredible users, we also got a chance to partner with some powerhouse organisations that have been a bold voice in the issues they stand for.

Agents of Ishq

Sharing stories of sex, sexuality and more in a unique and quirky style!

From The Big-O To A Big No: The Sexual Encounter Indian Women Say They Can’t Forget

Follow Agents of Ishq on Youth Ki Awaaz.


Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group

Everything you should know about living a cleaner, more sustainable life.

Your High Fashion Clothes Are Costing You More Than Just Money

Follow Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group on Youth Ki Awaaz.


EndBondedLabour

Turning the spotlight on the invisiblised lives of millions trapped in bonded labour in India.

Fingers Cut Off, Acid Splashed: The Ghastly Face Of Bonded Labour

Follow EndBondedLabour on Youth Ki Awaaz.


India Development Review

An insight into the development sector and the challenges it continues to face.

Best Of The Worst: The 20 Most Disappointing People In Their 20s

Follow India Development Review on Youth Ki Awaaz.


Internshala

You much-needed dose of career inspiration!

How My Internship At IIM Bangalore Turned My Career Around

Follow Internshala on Youth Ki Awaaz.


Love Matters India

Blush-free information and news on love, sex and relationships for young adults.

‘Brainless Dog-Eaters’: 6 Women From The North East Share Experiences Of Racism And Sexism

Follow Love Matters India on Youth Ki Awaaz.


Penguin India

Your exclusive access to the latest, most exciting books!

Shutapa Paul’s New Book Reveals A Side Of Mamata Banerjee We Never Knew

Follow Penguin India on Youth Ki Awaaz.


Peoples Pulse

Everything you need to stay up-to-date with the political developments in the country.

Here’s What The People Of Telangana Are Thinking As They Head To Vote

Follow Peoples Pulse on Youth Ki Awaaz.


SHEROES

An exclusive space for women to have authentic conversations and invest in their growth journeys.

As A Doctor, I’m Shocked To See Women Asking For ‘Homemade’ Abortion Solutions

Follow SHEROES on Youth Ki Awaaz.


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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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