Write an open letter to your govt. representative asking for better menstrual hygiene facilities and win up to ₹30,000!

Entries Closed

A #BolDaal writing contest in collaboration with

Contest Winners

Neelu Yadav

Student, Super School India

"मैंने जो पत्र लिखा है, इस बारे में मुझे कोई जानकारी नहीं थी। इस बारे में मुझे सुपर इंडिया की मैम ने बताया था। दीदी ने जैसे ही बोला कि पीरियड्स से संबंधित किन-किन दिक्कतों को आप देखती हैं? फिर मैंने उन तमाम चीज़ों को लिखना शुरू किया।"

Read her story

Nitisha Pandey

"There are a lot of narratives around periods that focus on the health and hygiene of the menstruators. However, very few connect it to the environmental aspect. The state can definitely play a crucial role in improving access to affordable sustainable products."

Read her story

Prashant Pratyush

"स्कूलों में लड़कीयों के ड्रॉप ऑउट के कारण के रूप में पीरीयड एक बड़ी समस्या है। दिल्ली सरकार ने शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में हाल के सालों में अच्छा काम किया है मगर पीरीयड के कारण स्कूलों में लड़कीयों के ड्रॉप ऑउट को रोकने में दिल्ली सरकार भी बाकी राज्य सरकारों की तरह असफल रही है। इसी समस्या ने मुझे दिल्ली सरकरा का ध्यान इस ओर आकर्षित कराने के लिए प्रेरित किया।"

Read his story

Talat Praveen

"जो मुद्दा इतने दिनों से मैं लोगों के बीच लाना चाह रही थी, वह मैंने इस प्रतियोगिता के ज़रिये लोगों तक पहुंचाया। मेरे मन में शुरू से ही चला आ रहा था कि जिस तरह से हम हर दिवस खुशी से बिना किसी शर्म के पूरे परिवार के साथ मनाते हैं, वैसे ही दफ्तरों, स्कूलों, कॉलेजों और मंत्रालयों में भी इसे मनाया जाना चाहिए। पीरियड किसी तरह की बीमारी नहीं है। हमें इस चीज़ पर शर्म नहीं करना चाहिए, यह महिलाओं के लिए ईश्वरो का वरदान है।"

Read her story

About the Contest

 

For years, stigma associated with menstruation has not only prevented conversation on the issue, but also hindered initiatives for better menstrual hygiene practices. Menstruation is an integral part of the discussion around workforce productivity and empowerment of individuals. It also currently stands a key barrier to menstruating persons' access to education. It’s time we break free from taboos, and demand what is the need of the hour - policies and initiative which make life better for menstruating persons.

To participate, write an open letter to your immediate government representative stating your demands for better menstrual health, wellness and hygiene. The top 10 entries will be sent to the respective ministries/representative to bring to their attention what citizens want. Top 3 entries will be awarded cash prizes of up to

Winner: ₹30,000 | First Runner Up: ₹15,000 | Second Runner Up: ₹5,000

The entries for the Open Letter Contest are now closed and under review. Results for the contest will be announced by April 9, 2020.

Entries Closed

Get started:

Step 1: Identify a local issue that highlights period related problems, or issues in dealing with menstruation.

Step 2: Identify a local decision maker who can take action on this in your community.
Hat tip: The more specific and local your decision maker, the higher the chances of impact.

Step 3: Write and publish a letter stating your demands, addressing it to the identified decision maker.

Useful Links

 

The entries for the Open Letter Contest are now closed and under review. Results for the contest will be announced by April 9, 2020.

Entries Closed

How to write a winning entry

  • Publish your letter on Youth Ki Awaaz by March 15
  • Identify the right decision maker to write your letter to: someone who works with the issue and/or has the power to take the action you'd like to see
  • Your letter should be a minimum 150 words
  • Help us find your letter by giving it a title in this format: #PeriodPaath: Your Title
  • Promote your letter among your friends and networks for maximum page views to clear the first round of selection.
  • Make sure your letter doesn't violate Youth Ki Awaaz's Community Guidelines
  • Send your submission in English or Hindi

Selection Process

Top 20 articles will be shortlisted by an internal team and sent to the expert jury member. The jury member will then select 10 best articles to be sent to the decision makers identified in them, top three among which will be awarded cash prizes.

The articles will be selected on the basis of:

  • The local relevance of the issue: Letters that successfully identify local issues that affect masses have a better chance of being selected
  • Decision maker engagement: Whether the correct decision maker for the issue being explored is identified, and how convincing and strong the point being made
  • Originality and creativity: Letters that bring in a unique perspective to the issue and have an original voice and interesting way to talk about it
  • Simplicity and directness: The easier and more direct the letter is to understand, the better, as it's much more shareable than one with complicated jargon
  • Structure and clarity of thought: The letter should have a clear, concise structure, for greater clarity and a smooth flow of information
  • Stand out Factor: Letters that are truly unique, with a 'wow' factor in tone, structure, narrative, data or personalisation stand a better chance of being shortlisted

MEET THE JURY

Angana Prasad

Executive Director at Project K.H.E.L. (Kids Holistic Education & Life-skills)

Nirmala Nair

Director - Kaboom Social Impact and Menstrual Health Advocate.

ASSOCIATE PARTNERS

FAQs

The Indian socio-cultural-political landscape of today is ridden with problems. With over 65% of the population below the age of 35, the potential that young people have in finding creative resolutions to these complex issues is unparalleled. With #BolDaal, Youth Ki Awaaz seeks to bring together the country's sharpest young minds to critically examine, discuss and find solutions to issues through interactive, thought-provoking challenges.

You can participate in any live challenge by logging in to Youth Ki Awaaz and submitting your entry. Each challenge has its own set of editorial guidelines and giveaways specified. To log into Youth Ki Awaaz, simply head to this link, and create an account. Don't forget to add your bio before publishing your first article on YKA!

Every article needs to meet the Youth Ki Awaaz community guidelines outlined here. If your article violates any guideline, it will automatically be disqualified. YKA also reserves the right to take down any such article.

As per the Youth Ki Awaaz company policy, any misconduct/cheating detected (and we've got our ways!) would result in your name being blacklisted on our server. This would mean you wouldn't be able to participate in any other contests or write on the platform in future. In the spirit of the challenge, we urge you to play fair and square.

Have a question we haven't already answered? Drop us an email here, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!

In case the contest receives fewer than 500 entries, it will be cancelled, and a fresh challenge will be created for you to write on.

 

Are you the menstrual health champion India needs today?

Entries Closed

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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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