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What We Missed At The Tokyo Olympics Can Be Gained At Paris, England And China

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From the beginning to the end; from Mirabai Chanu, the Olympic silver medalist in weightlifting, to Neeraj Chopra, the Olympic gold medalist in Javelin throw.

India’s journey started on a dream note from day one and witnessed many ups and downs throughout the journey. On the beginning day itself, Mirabai Chanu lifted 135 crore Indians on her shoulders and made history. She became the World Champion in weightlifting in the clean and jerk category and is certainly one of the biggest hopes of India to win a Gold medal in #Paris2024. And she is not that far from the gold medal.

PV Sindhu, the golden girl, is a two-time Olympic medalist, and a silver and bronze winner, but this doesn’t describe her in a true manner. The only colour that represents her is gold, and her dedication, fighting spirit and valour speak louder. She is going to present India with a gold medal in Paris 2024, and win gold in both Commonwealth Games 2022 and Asian Games 2023.

Vinesh Phogat had a bad day in Tokyo as well as the last time in Rio. She was one of the biggest hopes for India for winning at least one medal but unfortunately, her and India’s dream crashed both times. Nevertheless, her class game speaks loudly and she certainly remains a medal prospect for India in Paris 2024. Not all days are the same and in Paris, she will fulfil India’s dream of a medal.

L to R: Aditi Ashok (golf), PV Sindhu (badminton) and Ravi Kumar Dahiya (wrestling)

Aditi Ashok, India’s biggest achievement from Tokyo Olympics, competed with the World No 1 and former World No 1. Although ranked at 200 in the world ranking for golf herself, Aditi played like a champion and narrowly missed a medal by a shot. The four-day-long game had never been binge-watched in India with the interest that was seen last four days and all credit goes to the Queen Of Greens, India’s new sensation. All eyes are on her for a medal (the brightest one) from her side in #Paris2024.

Neeraj Chopra, the Gold medalist from Tokyo Olympics, India’s heartbeat, India’s pride, and the only Indian to win a medal (and that too Gold) in athletics in Olympics, is only the second Indian individual to win a gold at the Olympics. He has every single achievement to his side, and has a huge scope for going more further. And he is eyeing on that, too.

In a recent interview, Chopra said that he is going to work harder to breach the 90-metre mark. This statement makes me happier than the Gold he has won at the Tokyo Olympics. This type of hunger is needed from athletes to win a medal and certainly, he is here to rule in the Javelin throw for a long time.

Whenever there are talks on hockey, no one can ignore the glorious past of the Men’s Hockey team, the only team to have won eight gold medals at the Olympics. Although the team has been away from medals since 1980, this time, the team rewrote history and won the much-needed bronze, in no way smaller than Gold. This medal is going to reattract the youth to hockey and will play a booster in #Paris2024.

Indian Women’s Hockey team, the underdogs, made history by qualifying to the semi-finals and lost by a narrow 4-3 against the defending Gold medalist Great Britain. Though our team doesn’t have a medal by their side, they now have golden wings and will have a flying journey in Paris. The flame they have shown in Tokyo is going to become fire in Paris.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya, a farmer and the definition of dedication, won the glittering silver medal in wrestling in Tokyo. He said in a statement that he is not satisfied with silver and had come for gold. This hunger will let him win gold in Paris 2024. His dedication, calmness and sincerity towards his games are unmatchable.

Lovelina Borgohain, bronze medalist and second Indian women boxer to have this achievement by her side, is also eyeing gold in Paris 2024. She fought lion-heartedly against her opponent and made India proud.

Bajrang Punia, a bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, is surely not happy with the colour of his medal. He deserves nothing less than gold and his achievements speak louder than any words.

There are certainly so many names to be taken, including that of Sourabh Chaudhry, Manu Bhakar, Deepak Punia, Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and hundreds more who are medal prospects for India. These players must start preparing for 2024 from today itself.

Paris is eyeing these names more than these players are eyeing Paris.

One Gold, two Silver and four Bronze medals are in no way a true depiction of Indian athletes and surely, these numbers are will improve by a huge margin in Paris. Next year, the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games will witness the strongest Indian side of all time.

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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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