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Harnaaz Sandhu Is An Inspiration For Those Who Want To Follow Their Dreams

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Lights and Cameras Glittering all around, a million eyes on you, Wiltz, a Punjab-based Indian Girl, took home the title of Miss Universe during the pageant’s finals. A 21-year-old girl born and brought up in Chandigarh has lived her life just like another girl in the neighbourhood.

As mentioned in her Miss Universe delegate bio, her mother is her inspiration. Her inspiration is sourced from her mother, who broke all the fetters of patriarchy and held her personal set of values, beliefs and goals high and became a successful gynaecologist.

harnaaz sandhu
Harnaaz Sandhu.

She never let go of her dreams because of the cultural pressures. She pursued her career and aspirations irrespective of the shackles of pressure from extended family/society. The path may not have been easy, but her determination was the fuel.

Her final answer to the jury at the Miss Universe pageant stoutly upholds her advocacy for women’s rights and dignity. She was asked, “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?”

Harnaaz replied, “Well, I think the biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves. To know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful, stop comparing yourselves with others, and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide. 

“I think this is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourself, because you are the leader of your life. You are the voice of your own [life]. I believe in myself, and that’s why I’m standing here today. Thank you.”

 

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In today’s present scenario, Indian women are caught constantly in a face-off between the hue and cry of patriarchal conservatism and self-empowerment and freedom. Her victory is the blueprint for all the women and girls withholding their dreams and aspiration, too scared of society to break free from the deep-rooted conditioning and gender stereotypes.

Women need to dis-entangle from the relentless societal and cultural pressure and listen to their inner self. Girls and women are showing unprecedented growth in sports, education, technology, the fashion world, etc.

It’s time for each woman/girl to realise that their worth is not decided by the norms and rules of religious and cultural aspects in society. No one but you know your actual worth. Your worth is not in WHAT society wants from you. Instead, it is in WHAT you want from yourself. Our virtue of life cannot be pleasing others and should be our happiness and empowerment.

We at Sachhi Saheli are proud of Ms Harnaaz’s achievements and congratulate her for the same. She inspires many others to break all barriers and oppressions and thrive towards what they desire and dream.

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        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.

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        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.

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        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.

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