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Let’s Reflect And Discover What Happiness Is

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‘Life’—what is it? Is it the way we live or the way we see in movies? Do emotions determine our life or do we determine emotions that in a way determine our lives? Well, it is a tricky business. However, one thing is for sure: “life has many faces and phases”. Our faces keep changing with different phases of life, and make us realize that we have grown from the past into the future. The future is that part which we had never imagined. Apart from holding regrets of doing some things and not doing some things, have you ever wondered that the spelling of “life” has a condition hidden in it: the word if ‘. We often tell ourselves or others, if only I had gathered the courage, I would be studying something else; if I had not lied, things would have turned out differently and so on… Our life is run on ifs and buts, and sadly, these two words govern the decisions that we make.

An opportunity that has been showered on us right now in the form of the lockdown period because of COVID-19. This is the time to put your ifs and buts apart, and speak your heart. When social distancing and self isolation are taking over your mind, the best thing to do is to lie down, being mindful about the breathing pattern, and then go back in the past and reflect on those 5 experiences that made your life worth living—those incidents when you were on the top of your ride or when somebody did something good for you, or perhaps, your life took a different course which changed your perspective forever. Trust me, this activity will not only create positivity within, but also help you to reach out to others and help them in whatever little ways you can. Don’t forget, this activity will also make you realise that some people can never be changed and that you have to express your gratitude to them for always being there for you. 

For starters, here are some experiences that we collected from people which helped them shape their lives. Happiness is when…..

  1. You realise pain is inevitable. When you put yourself in somebody else’ shoes, empathy arises.
  • My mother’s illness taught me about support, care, choice, introspection, love and empathy. As a child, I was not very accepting of my mother’s illness. There was a bit of shame in me. Once, in the library class, I had read that “As you sow, so shall you reap.” It stuck in my heart forever. I realized how terrible I would feel if I was in my mother’s place and if my family was ashamed of me. I understood that it was not her fault. And that day, my shame about her illness was gone.

 2. Leaving your Comfort Zone helps you explore a different side of yours.

  • This Christmas Eve, I was invited by my friend for a party. This was the first time that I had an opportunity of such kind. I wanted to experience it. So, no matter how ill I was, I went for it, and I participated in most of the activities and enjoyed it to the fullest. For the first time, I realized how we happiness is something we feel within. Though I couldn’t eat any delicacies, I still enjoyed the space. I had always been scared of playing games. But that day I took a chance and felt so much better. I realized, nobody can make you feel small unless you want to. My energies and “happy-go-lucky” attitude in life has given me some of my best moments in this life.

   3. Seeking Help is only an act of ‘Courage’.

  • Going to therapy has helped me. I’m grateful for the opportunity and experience of such a healthy and beautiful space. It has helped change my thought patterns, to be more confident, to accept variations, have more self-compassion, to not apologize for my existence and view myself worthy in this world.

   4. You don’t get something and you realise it was a wonderful stroke of luck.

  • I had to travel to Pune at the beginning of March. My tickets were confirmed, and I was looking forward to going there. One hour before the train’s departure, I got a call from Pune to cancel my trip. It was unexpected, and my whole plan was disturbed. I was in Indore, which was a new city for me. It has just 2 weekly trains to Kanpur and the next train to Kanpur was after 2 days. I was able to get a bus ticket, and travelled more than 15 hours by bus. I was not happy with this turn of events. But after a few days, I was extremely grateful about this change of plans because otherwise I would have been stranded in Pune, which has become a Corona hotspot.

    5. Having a family is the best thing that can ever happen to somebody.

  • I believe living in a joint family was the best thing that ever happened to me. There was always someone to take care of me whenever my parents were not around. My grandparents were always supportive, and I gained a lot from their experiences. As a result of this, I have always been pampered by my family members.

    6. The least expected person stands up for you.

  • While going through the preparation phase for my entrance exam, I was dreading the whole part of attending group discussions. The whole class used to be a fish market, and I used to struggle a lot with raising my voice or dominating somebody. In one such case, a classmate of mine stood up for me after he saw that I had a good point to make but was struggling to say it across. That particular incident not only gave me my best friend but also made me realise that good things happen when you least expect them to happen. 

According to me, this is the best time where we can find out the best of our relationships, friendships and work. All we need to do is express and thank every single soul who has ever helped us in this beautiful journey called LIFE.

If you have such stories that you would like somebody to hear then reach out to us. Yo Zindagi will make sure you get the best out of that whole conversation.

(This article is a joint effort of Manasi Baindur, Priya Shukla, and Yashi Kapur who are providing online counselling under our Mental Health Internship Program.)

Yo Zindagi is a campaign to promote Mental Health & Emotional Maturity by engaging individuals in conversations and workshop. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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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