Vacation with a social touch

Spend your summer usefully. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao  

For most youngsters, the month of May means long holidays in hill stations, sports camps or just catching up with hobbies that they can't make time for in the rest of the year. However, for some, the long vacation is an opportunity to connect with society and the less fortunate.

Since 2004, the Pune-based Centre for Youth Development and Activities (CYDA), through its ‘Exposure' programme, has offered internships to over 150 youngsters, thus giving them an opportunity to work with non-governmental organisations (NGO) all over India.

Helping hands

Last year, 22-year-old Navin Runda from Ranchi, who was studying in Pune then, worked with an NGO called Act Now for Harmony and Democracry (ANHAD) working for the earthquake-affected people in Kashmir. “For 20 days, I worked in two villages called Tanbhar and Uri. I wanted to work closely with the people of Kashmir and the internship was a great learning experience. As I stayed with the local community during the internship, it helped me learn about the people, their culture very closely. I volunteered at ANHAD's tuition centre and provided career counselling to young students. Girls were being married in the community at the age of 15, and so I also had the job of guiding them about health and gender related issues. The internship also helped me develop my own personality and communication skills.”

Another youngster, Sunil Deshmukh, says, “I worked with an NGO called 'Thread' in Orissa. The work assigned to me was to mobilise people on the issues of genetically modified food. It helped me a lot to understand the problems farmers have to face in their daily life.” Programme coordinator, Daniela Eiben (27), herself an intern from Germany, says, “The ‘Exposure' programme helps youngsters broaden their perspective about life and puts them in touch with a wide variety of issues — be it social, environmental, health- or gender-related. When working in rural areas, they discover and try to understand a whole new way of life.”

This year, the CYDA is taking in internships for about 30-35 people from Maharashtra in the 18-25 age group. For a 30-45 day period spread over May and June, the interns would work with about 15 NGOs all over India. Earlier the CYDA has had the opportunity to be associated with groups like the Narmada Bachao Andolan, People's Watch, Tsunami Relief Work, etc. At the end of the internship, participants would receive a certificate. So this year, hone your ‘social skills', help the less forunate and discover a new side of India.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:23:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/Vacation-with-a-social-touch/article16301898.ece

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