Social Service

Feminism is not about superiority but equality: Sanchita

Sanchita is Counselling Psychologist (MSc) and founder of Sanchita Mental Health Foundation – Strengthening Your Wings To Fly. she did her schooling from Army Public School, Noida after which she did graduation in BA (hons) Psychology from Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi. She pursued MSc in Counselling Psychology from Christ University, Bengaluru.

We celebrates, rejoices, inspires and drives every woman to be the most awesome she can be. In this feature we interview Sanchita Sawhney on women empowerment and her stories. Here’s what she has to say.

Brief about your family background

Sanchita: I am a defence child. My father is an ex-army man and is currently working in Havells Pvt Ltd as the security head. My mother has been a teacher for more than 25 years and was the headmistress of SSRVM, Noida. She left her job to help me in my venture. My sister has a background in journalism and public relations. She is married and is currently settled in the US.

What have been the high points in your career?

Sanchita: One of the starting points in my career was when I topped in the psychology department in my post – graduation (MSc) that boosted my confidence to do something big and made me believe in myself.

It has not been long since we opened our foundation. Sanchita Mental Health Foundation is a day care and a counselling centre aiming to improve the mental health scenario in our society and to reduce the dogma and stigma attached with mental health illnesses. When we opened the foundation, we really didn’t think that people could be so scared to talk about their mental health issues. Within a month of our official opening day, we organized an enormous awareness event called ‘Stand Up For Mental Health’ where artists across NCR were invited to perform and talk about mental health illnesses openly. We got amazing feedback and were also covered by a leading newspaper. The event got us our first client for day care which felt so made us feel great and motivated to keep doing such events to reach out to people in our best potential.

At the age of 23, having my own foundation and working for what I am passionate for makes me feel blessed and grateful to all the people who supported me. Although it has just been 6 months, it feels like I have become a completely different person over this period. With every client who comes in for counselling, I live their stories with them. Technically, I am living 25 to 30 people’s sorrows in a week. This makes me exposed to things that one cannot imagine but the best part is that it makes me so strong and much more mature for my age by each case that comes in. Every case is my personal high point.

When I am called in schools as a key note speaker or corporates to give trainings and seminars, I feel I am able to help a large group of people through my experience and knowledge about the field. That in itself are high points for me as a working professional.

Do you idolise any woman?

Sanchita: There are two women who drive me passionately in my life. One of them is someone I happened to explore about in one of my college assignments. We were told to identify mental health issues in a client (imaginary or real) and give psychological interventions for him/her. I chose Princess Diana and the more I read about her the more I felt overwhelmed. I worked on the case study for weeks understanding her personality, social circumstances and her contribution to her society. People’s princess Diana inspired me to do good for others even if you are suffering from within. She taught me how one can heal himself or herself through healing others. I learnt compassion from her life. I want to be able to help people on a large scale just like she did.

The other woman who I idolise is my mother. She left her job to not leave me alone in this new path that I chose. She has taught me sacrifice, humbleness, respect and having a giving nature. I am a reflection of my mother and her kindness. She is my real life Princess Diana.

Do you feel it’s difficult to keep our culture alive in modern era?

Sanchita: I believe culture is a dynamic subject. If we look at our ancient times, of course it will be tough to follow the norms from back then now, looking at the way how the world has evolved. Instead of it being a collective concept, I believe culture is more of an individual aspect. It’s how each individual is living up to the expectations set by family, society and himself or herself. Evolving is always good but are we really evolving if we lose respect for one another or live with malicious intentions towards others. I don’t know what “our culture” is anymore. It’s more of “my culture” and that is something we could focus upon. Imbibing respect for everybody is something we should try hard to keep up with.

One thing that you want to change about womanism?

Sanchita: Easy acceptance of inequality or ill-treatment in personal or professional fields is something I would love to change. Standing up more often for your own needs and desires is needed.

What is your message for the youth women?

Sanchita: The youth has to understand that the society we build now will be the society that will sustain our families later. We need to look within and ask ourselves that are we the living stereotypes or are we doing something to change and survive better in this world. It is important to respect all men and women and not use feminism wrongly in its extreme form. It is not about superiority but equality. Living in harmony is more important now. And also, strive ahead for your passion. You will be much happier 20 years down the line.

Please share one such story which you think has brought changes in your life.

Sanchita: This is going to be a bit tough, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I believe that every individual I come across in my profession brings a change in my life. As much as my clients learn from the field of  psychology and human behaviour, I believe I take some form of learning from each one of them. And it’s a different life changing awareness with every case.

One of the cases that stood out was the one of abuse. How this individual chose to go through it for the benefit of something bigger. It maybe not a good thing, but what I did learn was that sometimes the pain seems way lesser when you are focused on what lies ahead. That is probably what keeps me going.

About the author

Syeda Eba Fatima

Syeda Eba is working in the media industry from last 2 years. She was former intern in The Hindu and Woman's Era and is now contributing as a journalist in Millennium post.