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Youth-Led Travel Will Be The Future Of Tourism And Peace-Building Post Covid

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It is often said that it is the youth who will lead the future generation. Remarkably, the gift of youth-hood is the golden phase of enthusiastic resilience in life — a stage where we have the capacity to grab hold of knowledge in an easy manner. Through the looking glass of the world, the youth have a significant role in re-shaping the erroneous loopholes of the threats that the modern world has to confront.

Be it pollution, environmental degradation, extinction of endangered species, war, climate change and the whole extravaganza that leads to an imbalance in our ecosystem, they have existed and observed all the chaos with whispers in their heads hoping for a better world.

In most cases, the youth may be considered victims of violence, and flag bearers of tantrums and shenanigans. They may be hot-blooded in an attempt to fulfil their own desires without a cause, but deep down, there is always an inner voice that enables them to set things right.

As tourism is the fastest growing industry universally in which impact can either cast a negative or positive outcome, future stakeholders and initiatives are no one else but the youth. It is a sector that is immensely inclined towards the skills and potential of youth empowerment on larger feasible ambiance. On a global scheme, they can be shining exemplars and prodigies if they are provided a better platform or a window of opportunity where their voices can be heard in imparting knowledge about the whole concept, scenario and requirements of the industry.

Representational image.


In the bigger picture, will their voices be heard if they were given a better privilege? Will there be a better development if they can expertise their knowledge and skills? By any chance, if they are looking towards a better future by pursuing a career in the tourism industry for the development of their own native places, what would be the outcome if all their endurances and visions go in vain?

Academic tourism is a new trend where young bright minds become bold risk-takers in pursuing a career to re-shape the function of the tourism industry in a peaceful accord. Definitely, without peace, there can be no progress in the travel industry. Take a closer look at Middle-east countries, for an instance, including Kabul and Syria.

Therefore, knowledge bearers hold the key to unlocking the loopholes of the tourism sector where they are exposed to a new learning with a positive outcome of aspiring innovations. Awareness, job opportunities, workshop training and experiential learning are the sole boosters of knowledge and experiences in utilising skills professionally in reality, keeping in mind a peaceful, safe and secure travel.

The North-eastern region, comprising of the seven sisters endowed with green vegetation in the lap of nature, is an exquisite site for promotion of rural tourism. Awareness plays a key role here in uplifting the livelihood of local communities, especially the youth in rural areas. However, I must say that there should be a peaceful and cordial bondage between guests and the hosts.

On one hand, tourists must set limits in their timings of visits so as not to cause any damage to the natural habitat or traditions of the local people. On the other hand, it is an obligation of the host community to maintain a cordial relationship with their guests as they are the source of income generation. The host community should not mimic the lifestyle or outlook of the tourists as such practices can lead to a decline of local culture.

Thus, the multiplier effect of the industry can elevate and reach its peak without any leakage in the system. When all dealings proceed peacefully, the destination will flourish and lead to a better social integration. Projects can be implemented by the state government in model villages, where degree holders who have dived academically in tourism administration can utilise their skills in opening a door to better employment generation.

Travellers with Luggage

Events, when progressed peacefully in a hospitable aura between the guest and the host, can imprint memories of a lifetime on visitors as well as frequent travellers — an exhibition to embrace the best of both world. The Hornbill Festival in Nagaland is a stupendous example of peaceful travel where tourists have an eventful opportunity to glimpse the wonders of the Naga culture and heritage. In return, the Nagas give them warm hospitality and a jovial feeling of home away from home. The youth are the pinnacle of success of the festival where their skills and knowledge are required in every aspect.

As UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterras stated, “It is imperative that we rebuild tourism in a safe, equitable and climate-friendly way.” It is time we rise and promote the slogan of responsible travelling through sheer introspection. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) aims to restore sustainable tourism through this horrendous pandemic of darkness, taking the art of travelling to be a mirror of the growth of global economy with a sufficiently clean outcome. Once the portal of Covid-19 subsides, peaceful, discernible regulations and protocols of the travel industry can result in an innovative and empowered youth as recipes of the best human resource.

If we look at the current situation, the world is in perplexity. As tourism upholds the economic growth and progress of a nation, it is time to realise and safeguard the existence of our surroundings, which we take for granted on a daily basis. With imposed lockdowns, wild animals fluttered peacefully in their own surroundings without any human intervention.

We realised that we have taken so much from Mother Earth that provides us our needs to the utmost. The tourism marketing can be innovated in a sustainable environment; it can be a rehabilitation to restore the chaos we have caused, leaving only a footprint and memories behind in our places of visit. Unemployment only leads to illiteracy and misleading routes, so tourism is a great way to generate youth employment.

Martin Luther King Jr. was in tranquil when he quoted, ‘Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at the goal.’ Yes, peace is not a tangible object that can be bought or sold. It has to be shown through actions and full-proof evidence. Youth is a boon where we should live every day with the best potential within us. So, by embracing the bestowed peace and power with the youth within us, we can deliver a change, for the good, for the better.

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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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