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We Lost The Most Precious Thing During The Pandemic- Human Touch!

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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.

It was easier before, even when we were unwell, you know why- maybe because we were close enough to take care of our loved ones and ask for their help too. Our existence was less disorganised because we possessed the essence of human touch and care.

It is not that humans are getting sick for the first time, neither are they amateurs at being stressed or anxious. However, there is still something very unusual about the pandemic. We as living organisms are attuned to the fact that a human body can have ailments that can be cured sometimes. The other times you might have to live with it and if it’s worse you might not.

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Representative image only.

I am not here to talk about any medical or physiological advice or speeches regarding the coronavirus, because let’s admit, that we all are tired of it. Scientists and doctors have been stretched to their physical as well as emotional limits to provide the best medication to the patients. When the world is bound to stay at home for their safety, they are those angels who are at work, continuously trying to make this bacterial world a better place for the masses.

We have also encountered few instances where we see doctors and the other medical staff cheering up the patients so that not only those medicines but the essence of real emotion and happiness can speed up their recovery. The tradition of physical proximity has been one of the major loss that has occurred after the pandemic. We have been craving that closeness while we feel vulnerable.

Covered with face masks, distanced by zoom calls we are unable to understand what the other person is going through because the non-verbal cues of communication are not expressible. We all must have been in that place where being sick was not proportionate to being isolated and lonely. We used to visit our close ones if they were not doing so well, get them flowers, sing for them and sometimes maybe we just sat with holding their hands and ensuring them that they are going to be fine soon.

To be honest, we all miss that, we cherish the idea of care, intimacy and that vibe that created a positive environment around the “not so healthy person.” As the World Health Organisation (WHO) says it loud that health is not just confined to be free of physical ailments and disease, it is a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being. If you are fine from the inside, you are surely going to handle what’s outside.

Being in good company when you are not fit helps in diagnosing the unsaid disease of negativity. When we are alone, we add up to the negative emotions and overthinking which ultimately deteriorates our health. The pandemic, its guidelines and most importantly the fear of death has kept us away from our loved ones. It is heartbreaking to see that people are not able to see and meet their beloved for the last time. The illness which used to lose its effect and vanish with just a tight hug is now sticking along. The idea of proximity has completely changed. Earlier we used to talk about how close can we go to help a person in need and now we are instructed to be as far as possible from the patient.

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Verbal and physical cues are so important! Representative image only.

The precautions and guidelines are not faulty, they have just made our handicap of not being able to do anything for anyone. The aspect of proximity has affected the mental health of not only the infected individual but the whole nation. It appears as if the one who has tested positive for covid is isolated on every ground, he/she doesn’t only have to take care of the physiological health, they have to be positive and remain calm when no else can be of any help. The only thing that we can do is to be positive!

Yes, it would require a lot of courage and patience but that is how we are going to survive and come out of this havoc.

Medications can help your body to recover, but your soul needs something closer and more reliable, that is of course positivity. Try to absorb all the good things around you, try to explore what you haven’t until now. Your family might not be able to sit close to you, you will miss your friends giving you a high five but the belief that you are not alone, everyone is with you, maybe not close enough physically but their blessings and good wishes move straight from their hearts to yours. Connect to them on call, have a chit chat, dance to your favourite music, have a house party with your family.

Being in a phase of sickness doesn’t mean you forget the craze of living; this is temporary and it is going to be absolutely fine if we wish for it.

A lot has changed, there might be more, all we can do is to stay strong and never rest the idea of positive overthinking. We are fighting this together and we will surely win!


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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.

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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, 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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