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“2020 Is The Motivational Book We Need For Our Entire Life”

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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.

When we had entered 2020 on the night of 31 December 2019, no one of us would have expected this year to give the kind of challenges, suffering and pain to us that it did. We have heard about the unpredictability of life but whatever happened in 2020 was beyond our imagination.

From Delhi Riots to a nationwide lockdown, from Irrfan Khan to Sushant Singh Rajput and full cemetery, this year tested the human behaviour, patience and tolerance.

When we will face any challenge in our life, we have two options- the option to blame and complain about life and be sad about the situations OR to learn from the challenges and try to recognize what actually life is trying to teach us.

As we are ready to welcome 2021, let’s start the new year on a positive note and understand how the tough time of our life can be our best teacher and how we can improve the way of living life by accepting the lessons taught by life during every stage. Let’s see how some incidents of 2020 may become our best teachers and best chapters of any motivational book for our entire life.

Representational image.

Coronavirus

It is difficult for all of them who have lost their relatives due to this virus and I am taking this opportunity to send my prayers to all of them and their families. Due to this virus, we have not been able to breathe freely without masks, or travel, go wherever we wanted to. We were compelled to sit in the four walls of our houses. Some couldn’t even see their loved ones for one last time.

We might have earned money, built houses with a luxurious life, but even after having everything, we had to limit our boundaries and remain in restrictions. We were not in a position to live life as per our choices. Then what is life indicating to us? Is there a message for all of us?

Life has been trying to tell us that we can’t control everything. Energy controls and manages our lives and if we try to act over smart, we will have to bear consequences. Life has been trying to teach us to respect that and be happy with whatever we have because nothing is our property. They are just material things supporting you in this temporary world.

The Unfortunate Death Of Sushant Singh Rajput

Unfortunately, Bollywood actor and television star, Sushant Singh Rajput, was found dead at his residence in Mumbai on June 14. The news of SSR was shocking and surprising for all of us. Though the reasons for his death are still not confirmed however there are several reports of him taking medicine for depression and some members of his family were also recommending medicine for mental illness.

The sudden death of SSR taught us that money can help you live a luxurious life but you have to find reasons to live and enjoy a peaceful life. You cannot buy happiness. He had a successful life, fame, talent, platform and money but he was going through some stuff in his life that made him take medicines for depression. There is no better medicine than living a satisfactory life with whatever we have. It helps us fight mental illnesses as well.

Irrfan Khan’s Death

“I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will.”

A man of few words and an actor of silent expressions, with his deep eyes and his memorable actions on-screen, Irrfan breathed his last in April 2020 due to colon infection. We all are aware of the fact that no one and nothing is permanent in this unpredictable life but still we are somehow not ready or willing to accept this truth. Irrfan Khan’s battle with cancer and his death taught us that you have to fight till the end but you cannot change your destination. No one is here to remain forever. Everyone has a role to play in this movie of life and one day, this role will end and we will have to go leaving behind everything.

The Killing Of George Floyd

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck, for nearly seven minutes, despite Floyd repeatedly saying “ I can’t breathe”. Floyd was arrested after he was allegedly accused of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.

That incident and the protest after offers an opportunity for all of us to learn and recognize that every individual is different in this world but we cannot discriminate based on the differentiation of religions, caste, creed, race, colour, certain ethnic groups, region, or sexual orientation, and it does not mean that we would have to hate each other. We don’t have to forget the fact that we all are humans and we all are connected with each other with the thread of humanity. All human beings belong to a single species and we all are equal and we all have equal rights to live with dignity.

Delhi Riots.

The Delhi Riots

The 2020 Delhi riots included multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting killing many people, in North East Delhi in February 2020. Some anti-social elements led to riots and even after having serious situations, the way people from both religions i.e. Hindu and Muslims, took care of each other and tried to protect and handle the situation was appreciable. That incident suggested that still, we are humans.

We need to spread the message of love instead of hate. As we are entering into a New Year,  let’s learn the message given by 2020 and let’s promote peace instead of violence. Let’s be human instead of radical. We all are humans and we all are equal, and that is why we should and we have to think before hurting someone. Let’s take our responsibility as humans.

Let’s not blame 2020 and let’s not make any complaint regarding 2020. 2020 is the best motivational book which is having challenging, unpredictable and unforgettable chapters. Thank you 2020 for making us strong and giving that strength to handle tough challenges to make a better life. What we need to do is to read every chapter to make better 2021 and have a better life. Let’s be grateful for whatever we have. Happy New Year.  

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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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