Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
For the last ten years, 30-year-old Tarun Kumar has been working with some local social organizations in Jharkhand for the benefit of women and children. In 2017, he founded an NGO named Nischay to aggressively work towards issues that needed to be addressed.
Nischay has around five core members and over 100 volunteers.
In 2015 while Kumar was delivering a lecture at an awareness drive about social issues, a girl began menstruating. "There were no female teachers present at the spot, and I could see how distressed the child was. I immediately rushed to help her," Tarun says.
"That day, I realised how stigmatised society is. The girl was ashamed to talk about menstruation in front of men. I pledged to bring a change around me. We talk about important issues like child labour, child marriage and domestic violence, but when it comes to a phenomenon as natural as menstruation, we refuse to address the issues around it," he adds.
With the lockdown imposition due to coronavirus, Tarun realised that several girls in the village were in need of sanitary pads, which they could not afford.
"Ever since lockdown 1.0, we began raising funds to donate napkins to these children. Since our NGO has pages on social media, we are easily reachable. Every time we get a call from a girl in need of sanitary pads, we urge her to ask around and find out if there are other girls who need it too. We then ask volunteers to distribute these pads among the girls," Tarun tells The Logical Indian.
Amid the lockdown, Nischay has distributed sanitary pads among over 3,000 girls in Jharkhand east Singhbhum district.
"I want to make sure that people in the villages talk about menstruation unflinchingly. I want people to come together and help wipe out the taboo altogether," Tarun says.
"I have seen our campaigns gradually create a change. People are now more aware and ready to talk about social issues," he adds.
Life in quarantine is not easy and can have serious effects on one's mental health. A study from King's College London says that quarantine affects your mental health, causing post-traumatic stress, confusion and anger. The effects of being separated from your loved ones, uncertainty over disease status, loss of freedom and boredom can be dramatic.
"In circumstances as trying like this, Nischay has come up with an initiative called 'Lockdown Life Diaries'. As a small part of our effort at making life easier, we are encouraging students of schools and colleges to pen down their feelings in a diary. You see, writing helps you vent, and that in turn makes you feel at peace," Tarun says.
"We have decided to put up some of these writings on social media. The kind of write-ups that we got are very positive, and should encourage others," he says.
Talking about Nischay's future goals, Tarun says, "I want to encourage children in our village to become the future leaders. We humans have the power to change the world if only we wish to do so for the greater good."
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