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I Hear “Awaaz Aa Rahi Hai?”, “Am I Audible?” More Than My Syllabus

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Every living being has to face both things: sadness and happiness. Every person has their own life story and their difficulties. Many people raise their hands against difficulties faced by doctors, engineers, child labourers, farmers, soldiers, etc. But few talk about students difficulties.

Today, I want to share the difficulties which I and a student face in their life. When I was a student in the eighth standard, I decided to take some steps when I was studying. The idea gave birth to a goal in my heart that I would become a doctor in the future. But at the school I was in, there were no science teachers, so I decided to shift schools. But at that time there was no school close to my home, so I took up Arts.

preparing for exams
Representative Image.

As the days passed, years passed, I also passed class 12. Now my mother was worried. She said that I would go to a college where I could fulfil my dreams. But it was my misfortune that she was not there during the entrance. And I did not go to Azamgarh college for entrance. Overall, I was happy with God’s every decision.

I took my admission in B.A. (Bachelor of Art) and continued my education. In the last year of my B.A., I thought not to continue my education. If there was no future, it was enough. But I felt bad inside. I said to myself, “No, it’s not over. I must continue it.”

I started to search for top universities for Mass Communication. Someone told me about Jamia Millia Islamia, Moulana Azad University Hyderabad, Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University and Indian Institute Of Mass Communication New Delhi.

Dear reader, so far, everything I said was very personal. Now start my real difficulties.

I am from a place where girls are not permitted to use a phone. This world is a digital world.

Whatever happens in the country or internationally, we get every update on our phones. This is not only my problem; many of my friends face the same difficulties.

Then what happens is that I request my brother to get me a phone. He buys me the Mi 3S. Then I start preparing for the Jamia and IIMC New Delhi entrance exams. After all this, I fill the form to enrol in Jamia and IIMC. But to enrol in Jamia, I have to come to Delhi for the entrance exam, and because of that, I was unable to enrol myself in Jamia.

On the other hand, IIMC kept an online entrance exam. I thought I would have to give my entrance exam sitting at home. But I did not know that I would have to cry even in this online entrance because I thought I would give the entrance on my phone. But it was nothing like that. I had to have a laptop to give the entrance.

I did not have a laptop and I missed my webinar. Since I knew that I needed a laptop, I talked to everyone I knew, but I did not get it. Finally, I talked to a person 5 minute before my entrance. He told me he had gone to Azamgarh for some work and had the laptop with him. He told me to meet him somewhere.

Representational image.

I joined ten minutes late for the entrance exam. And I was also disconnected two or three times due to the slow speed of the network. I missed two questions and I was worried if I would get into IIMC. But after a few days when the results were declared, I was selected in the first list. It was a pleasure to see the result, but at the same time, I was anxious about depositing the fees. But I managed that as well.

Now I thought that I would breathe peacefully and attend my normal classes. But in these online class, more than “good morning”, I hear people say, “Am I audible?” “Yes sir, now you are.” Just as the class starts, a voice comes from the middle. “I am sorry sir, I am stopping you in the middle of class. Sir, actually your voice is not coming to me.”

We never listen to the words of Adity, my classmate, due to network problems. There is no shortage of teaching and learning. There is a problem with our network.

Our classes started on 16 November 2020, but every student has never been present on a day because of network issues. Someone does not have a good phone, a laptop or someone who has both but not a good network connection; someone has low battery, someone has exhausted the mobiles daily data, etc.

Facing all these difficulties, today’s students continue their education. With whom are students supposed to share their difficulties? To whom should students say they will not be able to pay the fees of the university? Is it not right for a poor child to study today?

You must be to comment.
  1. Ravindra Kumawat

    Hey Shabeena,
    First of all I would to thank you because you gave me a precious inspiration which I’ll never forget.
    While observing your story I realised that you are the person from whom I can get best motivation ever in my life.
    Your true story and felt experiences made you different from other writers. I wish you’ll get lot of learning moments in your life.

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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.

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.

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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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