As the audience listened with rapt attention, Koshika Krishna stood in the center of the room and talked about the stigmas associated with menstruation and things which can be done to spread awareness about it among the women of the country.
‘To prove that periods are normal, period’ is exactly what she had set out to do when she founded her social venture ‘SeHER’ at a young age of 21. Koshika Krishna founded SeHER, a social venture which aims to spread awareness around menstrual health and sanitation. The venture works mostly in rural areas with an objective to educate and empower women on the same which will help them ‘break free of the shackles that restrain and discriminate them’.
On 10th August, the Young India Foundation in association with the Women Development Cell of Usha Pravin Gandhi College hosted an event. The organization invited Ms. Koshika Krishna to talk with the journalism and management students on an uncomfortable topic of menstrual health. The event started off with the speaker’s brief journey from being a law student to becoming the founder of SeHER India and then one of the top changemakers of our country.
She stated that she wasn’t satisfied with the education she was getting. She wanted to do more, like explore the roots of social issues in the country and bring a substantial change. She got inspired by women who took up little causes that mattered to them and ended up creating big changes. Koshika looked around her to see what needed to be reformed. She realized that menstruation was a taboo despite being the most natural thing among women. In addition, sexual and reproductive health was also hardly ever discussed. Therefore, she believed, most women had no idea about sanitation, or contraception and the severe consequences they have. This entire journey motivated her to start SeHER, a social venture that attempts a conversation around these topics and also aims to initiate policy changes. In her journey, she also realized a lack of knowledge on ‘Right to Information’. She narrated her personal experience with RTI and even taught the audience how to file a request for the same.
Everyone in the room was quiet and attentive throughout the workshop as Koshika spoke about the importance to take up issues that matter to you and be vocal about it. She added, reformation starts with one person, she asserted, but gradually more people join in. You simply have to stand up for what you think is right. She added by saying that it is possible to hold people accountable for the services they ought to provide in your own small-lawful ways.
Further, in the workshop, she presented case studies of women who inspired her to initiate the change movement and prove that age is not a factor to make a difference. SeHER India’s work was also shown, for instance, their drives to rural areas to teach women the basics of menstrual health, or the fights for underprivileged women in the labor class who are forcefully made to undergo hysterectomy and also the appeals they make to government officials to make policy amendments which ensure safety and fairness for victims of such injustices.
In the end, the session was opened to the audience for Q&A round. The response was diverse, as the questions ranged from implementation of the Uniform Civil Code to whether a movie on sanitary napkins actually created awareness among people. The workshop concluded in an hour and a half, with the audience accepting that they hadn’t attended a session like this before. The mesmerized audience also said they were walking out more enlightened and better educated. The session ended with Mrs. Rashmi Gahlowt, the teacher-in-charge of the Women’s Development Cell felicitating Koshika for the eye-opening session.