TREND Youth activism is on the rise

In the age of perpetual preoccupations, it is easy to lose track of the burning issues of the day. With technology, social networking and entertainment constantly at their disposal, today’s youngsters are programmed to be aloof. Yet, somehow, they surprise us with their involvement. Apart from personal development, some work for recognition, others for certificates.

Is volunteering always voluntary? Not quite, when colleges award credits for social work. But it instils a sense of benevolence, making the end result count, irrespective of the driving force.

“Certainly there’s the satisfaction of helping other people and being a part of the community,” says sociologist Nandini Sundar. She feels that certain incidents are responsible for inspiring the youth to work for a cause. “There are times when people become more involved. It dies down, but then it again sparks up due to some or the other event. They have it in them to do something, that’s always there,” she believes.

The YP Foundation

Ishita Chaudhry is a living example. Founder of The YP Foundation (TYPF) that works for a diverse range of causes including providing healthcare and non-formal education to street and slum children, Ishita was inspired by the 2002 Godhra pogrom. “I began to question how we lived our lives and shared power, identity and privilege and my own lack of action as a young person, and that’s how TYPF came into existence,” she says.

She feels that people experience different points in their lives that challenge them and make them question who they are and what they stand for.

Enactus India

Enactus, a non-profit organisation working in 50 colleges in India and globally, provides a forum for students to use their entrepreneurial skills to help communities in need. “It gives them an opportunity to use what they learn. Apart from experience and team work, they learn to be productive which will help them in building their career path,” says Farhan Pettiwala, president of the organisation.

“It’s not only competing with other teams but also seeing their plans being executed and achieving success that really motivates these young students,” he says.

Uddeshya

A youth run organisation that started out at the college level, Uddeshya aims to impart life skills and spread awareness about substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among others. “It’s all about training and making the people capable to solve the problems at the grassroots level. Time as a resource is what we believe in,” says Siddharth Sinha, founder of Uddeshya.

Like fashion, social work has caught on with the young minds of today. And one hopes they take it to its logical conclusion.