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A Doctor with a Difference!

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A Doctor with a Difference!


Dr Amit Giram, MD Medicine, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Hospital

I began my journey with NIRMAN in 2014. I was a 2nd-year student of MBBS at the Grant Medical College in Mumbai at that time. As every medical student, my goal was clear, to pursue post-graduation. But what next? What after PG? Maybe super speciality? Maybe private practice? Maybe government practice? I had no idea. As most of the students, I was also unaware of the problems in our society.

When I attended the 1st NIRMAN workshop, I started understanding the challenges which our society faces every day. In the beginning, it was really difficult to digest them and my reaction was that these problems are so big and I can’t do anything about it. It made me helpless. But that’s when I started consciously looking around me and started understanding the gravity of issues faced mostly by the poor and most vulnerable communities in our society. Being working in a government hospital, I did not have to go somewhere else to see how much people suffer. I could feel their helplessness, their limitations to get the healthcare that they really deserve. The 1st workshop of NIRMAN gave me the insight to look into the community and how to identify the problems. As someone said, “Your eyes can’t see what your mind does not know.” So my mind opened and so did my ‘eye’.

But this was just about realisation. What next? Was it enough just to have a realisation of the problems? The answer was NO. This is where the 2nd NIRMAN workshop helped me. The 2nd workshop was about – “Yes there are problems, but how can I contribute to fix them?” The 2nd workshop gave me the tools required to break down a large problem into smaller ones and then try to fix them. It helped me to convert my helplessness about a problem into a realistic approach to solve it, at least partially if not completely. It also helped me keep realistic and achievable targets and not to be in some dreamy state. The first two workshops were mostly about theoretical knowledge though we also got chances to interact with many people who have done significant work in their fields. But again a question came in my mind that these all people were very senior, age-wise and experience-wise, to me. And as usual, I thought it would be easier for them to solve the social problems with their expertise but I’m nowhere near them to do so. The third workshop of NIRMAN was a perfect solution to this query of mine!

Picture Courtesy – During 3rd Workshop – Session on Book Club.

In the 3rd workshop, I actually got to meet a lot of youngsters who were of similar age to me and who were currently working on some specific problem in society. This gave me the confidence that this can be done by young people too. As perfectly matching with the true concept of NIRMAN, this was meeting with and being a part of a ‘Team of Young Social Changemakers’!

Throughout these three workshops, one thing has been common – I have made new friends who think like me and who are willing to do something for society.

The whole NIRMAN process helped me to think rationally and make my decisions wisely and not just based on what others are saying or what is trending. I got a habit to put ‘why’ in front of every choice I now make. There are so many influences in our lives, if we go as per their choices then it’s not our life. I got that courage to go against the flow when I felt I should.

Picture Courtesy – 3rd Workshop of NIRMAN 7th Batch.


Picture Courtesy – In The SEARCH Hospital OPD.

After completing my MBBS, I joined the SEARCH Hospital in the remote district of Gadchiroli and worked as a Medical Officer for 10 months. I saw more than 10,000 patients, predominantly from a low socio-economic background, during this period. I handled OPD and IPD duties, helped organize surgical camps, handled emergencies including snakebites and malaria.

This entire experience helped me grow academically, socially and personally and solidified my conviction. I gave my 100% efforts during this MOship, saw a variety of patients and learnt so much clinically. Slowly I started treating the patients as humans and not as persons with a disease. Every patient I saw was an opportunity to learn new things. Talking to patients not just about the disease but about their family and occupation was also a learning experience for me.

I was lucky enough to get guides who helped me understand the meaning of ‘medicine’ beyond the disease and I will be forever grateful to them. I have always believed in quality care and not just a quantitative number of games. Every human deserves quality healthcare. During my MOship period, I met with many people from a variety of backgrounds and learnt a lot about things other than medical education, some of them will be staying with me for the lifetime. With this in mind, I decided to pursue post-graduation in medicine and started preparation for the NEET entrance exam. The preparation year was full of stress and competitiveness, but my experience in MOship helped me in solving my questions and the memories with my patients motivated me to do better. After spending one year exclusively with books I, fortunately, got a good rank and I have now joined a residency in medicine in Mumbai.

I’m looking forward to providing quality care to each and every human being I come across in my work and alleviate his/her suffering as much as possible. I feel that at the end what matters the most is not having any regrets, that I could have done this or that, but I didn’t. I feel content that I enjoyed organising college festivals and going for bike trips with friends during MBBS, I helped my patients during my MOship and also studied day and night when required for the PG preparation. Hopefully, this journey of personal satisfaction and social contribution will continue for years to come!


Dr Amit Giram

NIRMAN 6 Batch


The goal of the NIRMAN program is to contribute to the flourishing of youth in India, facilitate their search for pro-social purpose and nurture them as social contributors. 

The selection process for the next batch of NIRMAN is going on right now. To join in the participants have to fill up an introspective application form and a first of kind youth purpose questionnaire.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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