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“This Journey Of Being COVID-19 Positive Tore My Inner Self To The Core”

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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.

A yearlong fearful and brutal Covid-19 pandemic is about to come to an end with losing its intensity as it had earlier. My personal experience with this deadly virus was gruesome, it took me almost 17 days to beat this virus along with my whole family.

Representational image.

Claiming millions of lives all over the globe, the very stubborn will of this virus still looks energetic and ready to gulp the world population. Several types of research and studies are being conducted to look into the aftermath effects of Covid-19, however, there is no significant conclusion yet in this case. This journey of being Covid positive tore my inner self to the core. At times, the person feels that death is near and that feeling of helplessness gives them an insight into his existence in this mortal world.

In the middle of the night you feel choked, your heart palpitations increase every second, you feel the death in your throat but then yes after the darkness, there is a glooming dawn waiting for you to be thankful. I myself cannot agree more on this that the Covid-19 virus gets to your heart and even after recovery, you feel a lot of health issues with the recovery period extending up to 3 months. Young people like me recover swiftly as compared to the old aged and persons diagnosed with other lifelong diseases.

A month-long period of sickness breaks the inner will of living and no matter how much care and attention you get during this phase, you end up feeling depressed and lonely at the same time. I lost my own grandfather due to Covid-19 and accepting the fact is difficult that once he recovered from Covid-19 he was diagnosed with pneumonia and then with a cardiac arrest he died. He used to say that his father and he himself has had not witnessed such type of plague ever in their lifetime.

In his last days, he was gradually losing his will to live. Covid-19 had negatively impacted his psychological being.

2020 has proved distressful and traumatic for almost every one of us. Some of those who survived the 2020 mayhem dragged their misfortune in 2021 and now it seems that year is somewhere moving to the previous year sabotage again. Nevertheless, this pandemic is teaching us a hell of a lot of things which perhaps is what we call a blessing in disguise. Losing jobs, money, confining ourselves in four walls of the homes gave us life lessons of what it takes to be a housewife, cooking meals for others?

How does it feel to spend time with your family, to know their daily struggles? Above this, we were able to see men doing household chores, helping out their wives but is it really the case with the majority population or just a silver lining of our male-dominated society? Since the time the first pandemic lockdown was imposed in India, cases of domestic abuse are constantly increasing. Women have always been at the receiving end of the patriarchal structure.

If we look deep into our social structure, women continue to be a vulnerable section of our society and presently, we can witness the gender impacts of Covid-19. If a woman gets infected with this prevailing deadly virus, a whole of her family members disown her and simultaneously, if a man of the house gets infected, his wife has to take care of him no matter how strong her immune system is. We as social beings need a deep introspection into ourselves; because the pandemic has a treasure for those who are willing to extract that knowledge.

Human society is itself responsible for all the quagmire facing right now. Lamentably after a yearlong of worldwide lockdown, we are still the same.

We are getting so busy in this swamp of competition that we no longer feel alive. The human values of compassion, kindness, empathy are lost in this world driven by greed and competition. These hues of disaster are continuously knocking on our doors of consciousness. Everywhere across the world, nation-states are burning in turmoil be it any kind; there is no peace except beneath the earth. We no longer pay heed to these time to time warnings of mother earth or Ultimate power.

It feels like the human being inside us has long been murdered and we are vehemently celebrating this new world social order. Covid-19 is giving a timely lesson of nothingness, nothing is going to last in this world, and no being is going to live forever. Being empathetic towards fellow beings takes no money or asset. This worldwide pandemic crossing the border has put the world economy as well as the world itself under its feet. It’s high time to introspect ourselves for we only are responsible for this what looks like unending mayhem and chaos.

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  1. Antje Diana Baumgarten

    I love your passionate post and call for action. I love how your are speaking up for women. I would love to support your call. Even in America women are highly discriminated. Acces to mnetal care is more difficult than ever.

    https://healthylifestyleflorida.com/has-florida-a-mental-health-epidemic/smart-future/

    Women have to carry it all. But we deserve better. Let`s stand up together! Let`s fight together. Thanks for your call Samreen Tak!

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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.

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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.

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.

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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 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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