Cancer – 0, Roshini – 1: The Survival Story Of A 14-Year-Old

Meet Roshini Kumar, photographer, master of her own will, Cancer survivor.

A regular teenager, Roshini was doing everything to fit in, trying to lose weight, wondering if she was pretty, all the things the society makes you question about yourself. But at the age of 14, she faced something nobody could have prepared her for – stage four bone cancer.

While her friends were out playing, studying and living their teenage years, she was thrown into the deep end, fighting for her life.

Roshini describes chemotherapy as one of the worst periods in her life. It killed the cells in her body, both good and bad – and ironically she lost all the weight she was starving to lose. But by then she couldn’t even sit up on her hospital bed without help, and with her weight loss, body shape mattered no more. She now wanted to fight and survive, to live a life she wanted, not one dictated by the society.

Ten years on, cancer free and healthy, Roshini says she has evolved as a person. She is now a professional photographer, who uses her skills to campaign about body positivity and inclusivity.

Battling cancer is like being at war with one’s own body; surviving it changes perspectives. For Roshini, battling the disease has meant defeating her insecurities and learning to love herself, unconditionally.

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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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