I ensure reproductive rights of young people by providing them access to CSE which covers an array of topics like gender, sexual and reproductive health, rights and responsibilities, abuse, relationships, pleasure and life skills. This education is not a necessary part of formal education. So, I impart CSE to young people at school, college and community level. As a Youth Volunteer with FPA India, I conduct meetings, events, panel discussions, road shows, flash mobs and other competitions for young people to promote SRHR. During medical camps, I provide counselling about family planning methods, reproductive rights, hygiene and empowerment for girls and women. The platform of ICFP 2016 has provided me an opportunity to introduce FP to young people through interactive ways.
During high school, I used to participate in speech and debate competitions targeting social issues. Since then 'Population Explosion' has remain the burning topic in India because of its 1.25 billion population. While preparing speech on the same topic, I became familiar with the term 'Family Planning.' I have grown up seeing people considering every pregnancy as God gifted. Being an educated woman, I know I have to advocate for FP and SRHR to uproot such myths.
The biggest challenge I've faced in FP efforts is -- talking about sex and contraception with young people. In Indian society, SRH information and services are kept at bay from young people because of the belief that it will lead them to promiscuity. To overcome this barrier, I participated in sensitisation & advocacy meetings with parents, education & health department and community dialogue with traditional & political leaders.
India has come under global lens a couple of times after tragic death of several women due to bungled sterilisation surgery in Chattisgarh and Bihar. The reason for this incident is lack of birth control choices for women and focus on female sterilisation in government-led programmes. This problem can be addressed by introducing a wide range of modern contraceptives as a part of health programme and educating men & young people about sterilisation and reproductive rights.
In the next five years, I want an access to CSE and SRHR services for all young people and women especially in India. When young people are aware about their bodies and rights, they can make the well informed decisions and when women are empowered, they can achieve beyond limits.
This dream can be turned into a reality with the implementation and monitoring of a health policy.