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My School Gave Me Life-Long Trauma, And I Wish No One Else Meets The Same Fate

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Board results of Class 10 and 12 have finally been declared. Each child must have excelled in their own way — some made their way to the top, the mediocre hit the average, while the rest finally made the score. But being a former teacher as well as a guide to many students, I do not try to wish or celebrate any of these results. During these times, I recall my school days, which remind me of the hell that I faced back then, especially during my Class 12 examinations.

School Debates

It was a debate competition for the selection of head boy and head girl in school. Being one of the good orators in school, I took the most infamous side of debating in favour of punishment. I had moulded my speech to favour the importance of punishment. But my words, while debating, took the opposite stance on punishment. The school head took it so personally that it resulted in my speech being stopped in between for no reason.

Joseph Joubert once said, “It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.” I was wondering, was it my fault for talking in favour of a particular subject? Aren’t debates designed to share different thoughts and opinions? This was the first time my thoughts were smashed and silenced.

Applying For An Application In Real Life

I had applied for a fee concession during my Class 12 boards, as it was not possible for me to pay for my studies due to my father’s ill health. The only option left for me was to either take admission in a government school, get a fee concession, or leave my studies. At the most crucial time of my life, it would have been the wrong decision to change schools.

The experience I had in school silenced an open person like me for the next five years of college. I never took to the stage in college, and was always apprehensive toward stepping up.

I wrote an application to the principal, and got ridiculed with taunts when she responded: “So what if you are topper, your father had money to drink, but no money to pay for school?” My father is a person for whom drinking and smoking is talk of another planet.

That day, I was totally broken, the misinformation and fake gesture of my principal left me bereft and cheated. I was a teen girl suffering from a financial crisis, weakened family health, the stress of boards, and another upcoming major health crisis that left me to bear the burden of life alone. Though I did not lose hope and confronted the principal after this, opened up my reality to her, proved her wrong, and got my concession sanctioned.

Dilemma — Health Or Boards?

I was severely injured the same year, and was suggested bed rest. Being a topper, it was not possible for a student like me to stay out of school for long. I managed with the pain and studied, but failed to deliver my 100 %. I was used to being called and slammed for my non-attendance. I was teased that I would fail to clear my boards, and my pain and position was nothing but a mockery for others. I still remember I used to cry for hours and was totally exhausted with the school. Afterwards, I was the second highest marks holder. I also paid back all the debt in the name of concession I had received, and found complete salvation from the cycle of school.

Life After Trauma

The awful time has long passed, but somewhere, I was afraid to be ridiculed and mocked. The experience I had in school silenced an open person like me for the next five years of college. I never took to the stage in college, and was always apprehensive toward stepping up. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

I knew I had to overcome this situation. I tried recollecting my fears, which rooted back to my school. I vowed to face my fears, and made up my mind to join the school just to dissolve my pain. I confronted my fear. The first day I entered the premises to check the school topper’s board, which must hold my name, sadly, I did not find it there.

How I Overcame My Fears By Going Back To School

  1. I took my work as worship. I excelled in my job without any training.
  2. I got into the base of the student’s problem.
    • I personally found many students dealing with depression, fear and anxiety.
    • Financial problems and burden of heavy fees in return for good education was the biggest problem among parents.
    • There was no one to listen to the plight of young/teen children.
  3. My brother and I, along with a group of students, started an initiative called Youth of India, which helps collect donation and seeks voluntary support for the needy. This programme has helped many children overcome their financial constraint.
  4. I took to the stage in the same school, and proved that I am a good presenter/speaker and still possess the art.

It is necessary for the school authorities to look after their students’ social, mental, physical, psychological and financial status. The children in your school might be suffering from multiple problems beyond the administration’s understanding. Every child is special. There shouldn’t be more Kamnas to write about their trauma induced by schools.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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