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I look like a Chinese but I am from India. My native is in a hilly state in the eastern extreme of my country where people are aliened from the rest of the mainland Indians. Let me tell you, skin colour and the slant of your eyes determine how you are treated and seen! Assimilation into the mass is a naive dream.Rift in armed conflict for three decades, infrastructure is not the only thing destroyed in my homeland. Somewhere down the line, our spirits are wounded too.
Google Manipur and I assure you the greyness of our existence will come across your computer screen. The generation wiped out in this gun battle, left widows and orphans but then came the addiction to drugs and HIV. Manipur is the only state where HIV through injecting drugs is more than the sexual route.What is more grave- the grip of HIV and AIDS on our youth or the gun culture?
It's easy for people from the rest of the country to brandish the youth from North-East to be taking drugs and assign it to our culture or mind set.I want to show them just how tough life is here for any young person who has dreams and aspirations.Drug use is a reflection of how the state and the society are failing to fulfil those dreams of our youth.A solution can never be related to the substance alone. Drug use and addiction will have to be dealt with a plan to work on raising opportunities for the youth and giving a lease of hope.
From a remote part of India, I am now living in one of the fastest growing and modern city in southern part of the country and travel extensively.A community development professional into HIV/AIDS program, I work closely with sex workers ,transgender, people using drugs and other vulnerable communities. I began my career with the Joint United Nations Program in HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Then I worked as a Consultant to few NGOs into gender rights and education for the marginalized.
I am an active member of Network of Women in Media India where women journalists are collecting under one arm to rise to issues of violence against women. A journalist for several global news agencies including the Women International Perspective and Asian Press Institute I travel extensively and cover issues close to the community and rural India.A columnist in the Sangai Express, in Manipur and correspondent for the North-East SUN magazine, you will find a lot of my work here.
If you believe in the power of sharing, a conversation and extending a hand to someone who shares your vision, you can reach me at email@example.com or ping me on Facebook or Twitter by the same e-mail address. I will be most happy to extend my hand to you, in return.