IF YOUR PATH IS MORE DIFFICULT, IT’S BECAUSE YOUR CALLING IS HIGHER is what motivates me.
I am Anushree Dash, a social reformer, a changemaker, human rights activist, gender equality advocate, a socio-entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, Motivational Speaker and a writer & blogger. I stood by one thing in my life, “Be the change”
I identify myself as a Nari. Being a woman, every day for me is a struggle for existence, and a struggle for survival.
My connection with the rural and tribal people have made me realize that may be the journey is not so much about becoming anything but it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you.
In the first place I wish to work for my people and to become a face of change. To inspire more change makers like me and that’s what made me leave the hustle bustle of the city life, high paying corporate career of 10 years and started my social organization ADIBHA SHE VISION. With a motto She for She, and a vision to empower women, started advocating equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunities, equal respect. Started open dialogue on taboo topics like, menstruation or period, sex education, adolescent education. With my campaign #periods_are_normal and #Ibleedred the menstrual awareness and menstrual hygiene management program, Anandini (which means happiness) I took a challenge to educate and address the issues like period poverty, sanitation, early pregnancy, menopause, cervical cancer, sustainable menstrual practices, PCOD/PCOS and other adolescent girls’ issues. Anandini started from a small slum, Girijatoli basti, in Rourkela has spread wings to states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh and I got awarded as PADWOMAN of Odisha along with few more awards in national and regional forums for creating social impact. Touched life of 30,000 odd menstruators, distributed sanitary products every month, and spoken on issues which they can’t even share with their family. Is it an achievement, probably no because this is just the beginning. But girls give me a call when they skip their period and say, mummy toh maregi, kuch hoga toh nahi na Didi mujhe. No one can take the happiness of being a change maker from me.
I believe that normalizing menstruation through reproductive health education and open dialogue with menstruators and the wider community of men and boys will reduce long-term gender inequity by enabling menstruators to advocate for their needs and reclaim agency over their bodies. I wish to take this initiative to other cities and rural regions as well and want to reach one lakh women and change their lives. I name it ‘Mission one lakh’ and took up the challenge for myself.
With our campaign Sponsor a girl, we are distributing menstrual hygiene kits, “treasure boxes“, to women from rural areas and impoverished parts of society as part of our initiative.
While becoming a didi to all these girls and sharing lighter moments, I came across a girl saying there are things which are supposed to happen, and will happen. You cannot do anything about it. You have to deal with it. Well, what has happened to her is a tragedy in my vocabulary. But it’s a way of life for many sexual abuse survivors. From there SPARSH , our sexual abuse prevention program has seen the dawn of the day. It is extremely crucial to sensitize people and have a collaborative effort towards sexual abuse, human rights, child rights, human trafficking and protect our girls from any possible exploitation.
Addiction is one of the top healthcare issues in our country and our younger population is vulnerable to drug addiction. Can you think of next 10 years for them? Career, family, happiness, success! Do we really speak on drug abuse and the stigma associated with it. ADiBha She Vision , with it’s new program SAMBHAV , on Drug Addiction awareness address younger population on various aspects of de addiction.
Change is a journey and dialogue is the only solution to advocate change. With that thought, started penning down my experiences, stories, rage and many more for the larger audience in several platforms which includes books, newspaper columns and blogs and articles to name a few. Womanhood and gender equality are the main focus of my writing, at the same time aesthetic living, poetry, Indian architecture, travel, art, passion for life got its fair share in my writing and blogging. My blogs http://www.theycallmenari.com always speak on various women issues and equality and has served as a medium to share my voice.
Started the journey as a socio-entrepreneur with my social initiative ADiBha, to promote the rich textile heritage and craftsmanship of weavers from different parts of Odisha. ADiBha, aims to generate a valuable and sustainable livelihood for the true artisans and weavers’ community of Odisha, India and make them feel proud and confident about their art, craft, tradition and their profession. ADiBha aims to create more and more women entrepreneurs with it’s sustainable approach, capacity building and go-to market strategies. It is effortlessly trying to ensure that Indian art and craft does not die with time and is being transferred from generation to generation.
Received several accolades and recognition in both national and regional platforms which includes Odisha Citizens Award, Women Achievers’ Award from Honourable Governer of Odisha, Women Leading Change Award, MHM Champion Award, Ananya Changemaker Award, Social Impact award, Mahila Sanman to name a few. Got featured in New Indian Express, Women’s web, Women Economic Forum, Women shine, The Better India, Life beyond Number, My City Links , and around 50 odd national print media.
I am glad I continued my journey where there were more downs than ups. But with each one of those downs, I grew up. Every challenge has taken me a step closer towards my higher self.