The one who cares: Manju Cheema

Reinforcing the trust that ‘People Living with HIV AIDS’ can still lead a healthy life, Manju Cheema, Programme Officer, Technical Support Unit, Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS), New Delhi shares how she is enjoying her career while serving the society… An exclusive interview…

Manju Cheema, the former national level Cricket player from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, believes it is imperative for every woman – young or old – to manage their mind, especially when fear, anxiety or self-doubt creeps in. Engrossed in excelling in prevention of drug abuse and HIV/ AIDS for almost two decades now, her day-to-day life deals in providing technical support to Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS) in preventing HIVAIDS and TB, while working with High-risk groups such as FSWs, transgenders, MSMs, injecting users and migrants.

There’s still stigma attached to HIV AIDS and its associated ailment categories, “I have been involved in supporting my organisation in studies such as ‘violence among transgenders’, ‘violence amongst female sex workers’ etc. Stigmas are associated with People Living with HIV AIDS, but we are educating them as well us empowering them about their rights.” She is buoyant about the fact that she doesn’t let the stress that envelops her job profile sink in too much into her life. “To release stress, it is essential to spend some time with the self. I usually watch a cricket match, listen to music or talk to a likeminded friend. I also indulge in self-analysis and try to find the root cause of cause of stress,” says Manju.

Manju strongly believes, when you spend time in solitude, you give more chances to your brain to wonder, get creative and be more receptive to happiness and better satisfaction levels. This further leads to improving stress and confidence. Speaking on the need to maintain a calm composure. Manju reiterates, “As you spend time with yourself, you develop the sense of compassion for people who may not be from your immediate inner circle. So, automatically we spread happiness, positivity, compassion to the outer world. A healthy body gives birth to a fresh mind, through which you function better and complete your tasks well in time. I urge women to respect and love their bodies, because respect begins from self.

Quick tips for young women professionals:

  • Indulge in some mental exercises such as reading or anything that eases your mind.
  • Spend time with those who lift you up and support you
  • Know your rights and exercise them, if required. 
  • Improve your skills and knowledge.
  • Be honest and realistic in every relationship – personal or professional
  • Take care of your health.
  • Manage your finances well for future building.
  • Do not over expect from people
  • Set your working hours, plot some personal time, encourage hobbies.

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