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Accessibility, Fake News And Stress: The Many Shades Of Social Media

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Social Media is a master tool to connect with the world these days. One can easily find a huge number of frequently uploaded pictures of friends, families living far away from us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Chatting with known and unknown acquaintances is a remedy which social media has provided us. Also, it has made so easy to get the whereabouts of friends and families. We don’t get bored now, even in our free time, because of the platforms which bring additional people into our life each day.

Representational image.

The social media platforms have become more powerful than every news channel nowadays because we can easily get the latest updates, be it genuine or bogus.
we can portray to a lie easily or false news as a genuine one on these platforms.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

The greatness of this tool is that any voice can act as a stronger and be heard by many whereas the most exceedingly terrible aspect of this tool is that the unreliable news or any rumors heard by many sometimes lead to situations of riot, mobs on roads, destruction of public property, injuries to security providers and eventually to the common people.

Some political leaders sometimes use these platforms as a weapon to instigate common people and hide their shortcomings in their constituency by making everyone busy in day-to-day hatred and fights.

A wrong speech can lead to stone pelting, the army on roads, public property destruction which results into hospitals flooded with injured ones and finally communication blockade because of internet shutdowns to the region of which Jammu and Kashmir is the biggest example.

We have never seen such a long internet shutdown since independence which left the region to almost devoid of businesses, almost zero facility for food and other home deliveries in Kashmir.  Only a few in Jammu could access services, exams got affected and people were not able to check notifications for government jobs.

Working from home had become a dream for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. For more than six months people had not seen a triangular arrow of the internet on their mobile phones. Some other parts of the country were in the same boat where we saw internet shutdown recently.

Indispensability Of Social Media

The Internet has made our life a robot nowadays we can experience that mobile buttons are handling our lives nowadays. Sitting in the crowd and surfing on the phone, just the clicks of buttons have become common.

I have observed this during evening hours of my office, my love for tea made me go to the food court, settled on a chair with a cup of tea in front of me, I noticed that I had not given a single look to the cup I have trained my hands so good that they were picking the cup and taking it to my lips for a sip as I was busy with my other hand holding my mobile phone with both my eyes on it.

Representational image.

There were no notifications,  yet I was continuously locking and unlocking the screen within a few minutes. Later I realized that I was not keen to get new notifications, but I had developed a regular habit of it. I checked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and what not but could find nothing for me.

I closed my eyes and questioned if I am going through something? And when I opened my eyes and turned towards many people sitting nearby and noticed.
Some groups of friends sitting on tables but alone, because they all were busy with their mobile phones.

Making Sense Of Where We Are

The ambience of the food court was so silent that it was unbelievable to observe over 50 people were sitting for their tea breaks.

Imagine where have we landed up ourselves. Problems like stress, depression is because of this habit of continuously browsing the news feeds on these platforms.
We have bowed down in front of social media and made it the God of our lives. We can’t even remember when we did we exchange our energies with each other?

Being physically present with someone and sitting with our own mobile phones in our hands, mind and eyes busy with social media is not enough to share energies with each other.

In this era of stress and depression, we need to pause this habit of socializing over these platforms only and exchange our energies and thoughts with healthy discussions and hence know each other well.

Sometimes being a wonderful listener makes us learn so many outstanding things. They should not only read our writeups but listen to our voices too.
Raise your head up and click on the pause button to live some moments of this beautiful life.

It’s us only who rush to this life every day and then bow down in front of a media platform just to like or dislike the stories of others and then we think about the reason for sleepless nights and dry days.

Featured image is for representational purposes only.
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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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