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Six Months Into 2020, And We Have Created History. Is There More Left To See?

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As the clock struck midnight, people celebrated and ushered in the new year, made new resolutions, and wished for a year that brings out the best in them, unaware of what’s waiting. Cut to six months later, the entire world is in a state of halt because of a deadly virus spread by a little mammal. The coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that spreads from person to person through droplets from nose or mouth.

According to the WHO, the virus originated from a province in China, infecting nearly 20,000 people in the country. Slowly, it spread to many countries including the USA, Europe, Africa, the Gulf countries as well as India. Globally, there have been over 11.6 million confirmed cases (as on 7th July, 2020) as reported by the WHO.

Even the world is fighting against the coronavirus, it also saw many more losses. The death of the professional basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter crash deeply saddened everyone. The Australian bushfire that sent massive heatwaves killed nearly 34 people, many blaming the climate change.

Another incident that sent a shock of wave in the entire world is the death of an African-American man George Floyd. The man, a victim of systemic racism, was murdered in Minneapolis after being restrained by the police. A video footage of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, as he gasped for breath, sparked violent protests across the world, seeking justice for him.

As the world was slowly getting back on its feet, India saw its own share of struggles. Right after a nationwide lockdown was announced on 21st March 2020, many migrants headed back to their native villages. According to a report by Hindustan Times, nearly 198 migrants died on their way back home.

Police spraying disinfectant on migrants.

Since public transport had also been stopped due to the lockdown, many migrants had to travel miles back home on foot. It was reported that nearly eight lakh workers left Mumbai by 29th May to go back to their homes by special trains and buses organised by the government and Bollywood celebrity Sonu Sood.

As the lockdown got extended, many people spent hours on the internet as a way to pass time. This led to many rumours spreading fear amongst the citizens. One such example is a rumour that said that the world was going to end on 21st June, 2020. Well, we’re in July now.

The internet, on the other hand, also helped people provide funding to those affected by cyclones in Maharashtra, West Bengal and Assam. It also helped people learn a few things online such as dancing and cooking. Social media apps were filled with pictures of people baking cakes amid the lockdown. Video calls helped people stay connected in these hard times. Now that the lockdown has extended, the internet also helped schools and colleges to conduct online classes, for students’ safety and parents’ sanity.

The lockdown also forced several businesses in the country to shut down, derailing India’s economy. According to QUARTZ India, the GDP of the county has reached somewhere between 5% to 10% for the first time in four decades. However, economic activities might grow post-lockdown and there are hopes that the economy will grow.

The entertainment industry also suffered the loss of four talented artists during this lockdown. Irrfan Khan passed away due to a prolonged illness, while actor Rishi Kapoor breathed his last the very next day. And just when the country was getting over the loss of these two actors, the young and talented actor Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide after fighting with depression. The legendary dancer and choreographer Saroj Khan also suffered from a major cardiac attack, breathing her last a few days later.

And to top it all, as a part of its revenge-seeking plan over border dispute with China, India banned 59 Chinese mobile apps, each used by almost every citizen. These apps were said to be engaging in activities that threatened national security and defence of India, according to the Indian government. In a span of nearly six months into 2020, the world and our country itself has seen a lot of activities that are enough to create history. But the question still remains, six months into 2020, what’s more in store?

As part of its revenge-seeking plan over border dispute with China, India banned 59 Chinese mobile apps, each used by almost every citizen.
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  1. #Megatron 2.0

    Well written
    Proud of u elder sis…
    Keep writing such brilliant blogs!

    1. Vaishnavi Navalkar

      Thank you

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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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