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Social Distancing: A Habit We Need To Inculcate For A Greater Cause

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

What is social distancing? Is it the physical and mental distance that you are ought to maintain with everyone you know? Or is it the moving on from living the basic lifestyle where we are way more socialised with our peers and pals?

The pandemic has hit us like a sudden strike of a meteor that we had neither been prepared for nor were we ever prepared for this culture of social distancing which is the only solution that can drop down the levels of people getting infected by the virus.

You all must have met many branches of social distancing where you have been asked to work from home, isolate yourself from the world with no meet-ups, no dates, no partying, roaming around in places or hangouts and outings. But have you landed your thoughts in a place where you have lost control of the emotional self which does not flatten like the physical bond? Have you ever tried to make efforts and strengthen your bonds with your close ones by not distancing them morally?

There are many things that have come up to be real new concepts in our lives these days, like spending immense time listening to how our mother peels potatoes with perfection which you cribbed for, “aloo kyu daala sabzi mein?”

How our father reads the whole newspaper. How mornings are away from cubicles lit up by lights without intimating the suns rays on our desks. How the streets look when no one’s there (of course from the balcony). How long the nights are if you are not tired to doze off after working the whole day. How restless and impatient your feet and mouth were that have now come to pace and the way the birds chirp without a rush or gush.

Does Social Distancing Mean Loneliness?

social distancing
Social distancing does not mean isolating yourself from life. Do not stop talking, do not stop contacting your close ones via several means of social media.

No, not at all. Social distancing is the maintenance of distance from people to stop the spread of the virus that comes from the ones who already have been infected, staying away from cold, cough and flu, and keeping yourself safe by holding back.

This does not mean that you have to leave all your great wishes and good wills of life and enter into the house of anxiety and sorrow. You need to stay inside the four corners and enjoy life with positivity by enjoying everything that you wished for, inside your cubicle, travelling for office and during the lazy traffic.

Do not stop talking, do not stop contacting your close ones via several means of social media, give time to your parents, fight and nag with your siblings, and also know yourself better contrary to the loud hustling life you had infused yourself into.

Groom yourself through workouts, pamper yourself by tuning on to your favourite songs, flip your albums, read a lot, cook by choice, video calls your pals and colleagues, enjoy the chamomile sip while watching the sunset from the balcony swing and enjoy the meals with all the chairs of the dining room filled.

Does Social Distancing Distance Lovers?

Do you have it in your mind somewhere that you are in love only because you guys meet? Look, the doctors who have been married off years ago, who is newly married and those who haven’t yet but of course plan to with their chosen love are in love with their other half. They too have a heart, the same feelings that you witness and fret too.

But, did they step back because they care for their family, but unconditional for saving lives who are unknown to them entirely. You cannot drop a brick on me saying “it is their duty” as you too have a duty. A duty which keeps you at home, enhance your love through social distancing, realising that love is a vast concept beyond outings and dates, and loving with keeping you inside.

When you understand what you have for your better half, you will have a thought of what those doctors have for their families and lovers when they step out of their house with no trace or track of the miles they travel or the tenure they are going to be out for service. Try to be concrete when you say you love someone, and develop your love million times more within the square foot emotionally and morally.

Is Social Distancing Difficult?

Only if you understand how easy it is, if you are inside the comfort zone of your home, with your people, having three meals a day and sleep. Ignoring social distancing can be difficult for you, your dear ones, the country for sure. It is just a habit that you need to inculcate for a cause that is greater than your boredom, self-centred reasons if any, and more than social interactions.

Trust me; if we all come out of this because of following social distancing religiously, you will be the one to clap with appreciation. And even if this is not enough for bringing the virus to a halt completely, at least you will be proud of doing your part obediently by having deceased the spread out to the millions.

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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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