Society

Change makers for the youth

Children at Artwist  

Expanding learning beyond classrooms, discovering untapped talent and nurturing it, facilitating the youth to explore what makes them unique, there are a number of organisations out there who are working to achieve all of these. MetroPlus meets some of them.

Under 25 Club

The Under 25 Club was started by Shreyans Jain and Anton Philip, both graduates of Christ University. “We noticed there were youngsters who set up start-ups but were not doing anything with them. So we wondered how do we build a community and enter the eco-system?” says Anton. The duo organised their first Under 25 start-up summit in 2014. “It was more like a networking event,” says Shreyans. They wanted to scale up their event. “The organisers at Construkt Festival got in touch with us. They mentored us and at the Festival we were separate entity all together,” says Anton. They then decided to make an online presence by launching their media platform, www.under25.club. “We have 116 stories of youngsters who are change makers,” says Anton. The duo didn’t want to focus only on start-ups. For their summit planned next year, they have taken a multi-pronged approach. “Unlike earlier when the name was Under 25 start-up summit, our next event we have named it Under 25 summit. There are five categories: tech, design, young achievers, food and music,” says Shreyans. Activities include “artists’ collective, hackathons, start-up showcase, chat rooms.”

Artwist

Artwist was set up by the husband-wife duo, Umakant Soni and Smita Verma in Bengaluru with the intent of focussing on the emotional development of a child. Being a leading researcher in artificial intelligence, Umakant knows only too well of how the education system is oriented towards logic. “I used to run V-Imagino, an artificial intelligence company, and so know that logic can be mimicked by machines. The challenge is that if by 2050, 50 per cent of the jobs will be taken over by machines, what will human beings do? That is why it is important to develop emotional thought process.” They have also taken inspiration from Professor Teemu Leinone’s theories of learning that are well accepted in the European Union. “Our centre is in Electronic City. We focus on dance, drama, art, music, yoga and karate.” They have tied up with Treamis World School in Electronic City. “We said we’ll integrate our course in their curriculum.”

Campus Diaries

“Campus Diaries is a platform of discovery of ideas, opportunities and recognition,” says Sumit Saurav, who co-founded Campus Diaries with three others. “We don’t consider students as consumers. We treat them as creators.” The initiative was started two years ago with the intent of giving youngsters a platform to discover their talents.

Sumit says they do not want to interfere in deciding for the youth, “Our job is to equip students to decide what they want to do. We want them to experience the best ideas. Our business is built on a symbiosis of students, academia and industry.”

They have instituted the 25 Under 25 Awards for students and young professionals. “On the Campus Dairies website, there are portfolios of student’s work. There is also a lot of original work. All one has to do is to create a profile and then keep adding to the portfolio. That is their final application. We then have a short listing mechanism, by mentors and a jury. Our mentors include photographer Vicky Roy and Pawan and Anupama of Workbench Projects. Designer Jessica Walsh, artist, Appupen and Naresh Narasimhan, architect among others form the jury.”

Superheroes Incorporated

Set up by Ashwini Krishnaprasad and Archita Sisodia, Superheroes Incorporated enables youngsters develop life skills. “We focus on vocational training institutes, where primarily technical skills are honed. But we wanted to focus on life skills. Our core is ICT (Information, Communication and Technology) and global citizenship,” says Ashwini. They also have an app, Skill Up. “Initially it was meant for those who have done our workshops, but our mentor told us to develop it as a learning tool, which can be used by people who haven’t attended our workshops. Currently, we have 350 users. And we want to build the app in a holistic way, by scaling from 15, co-related with our workshop, to 60 levels,” says Ashwini, who is, along with Archita, Gandhi Fellows.

The Climber

The Climber, a start-up set up two years ago, is geared towards youth following their passion. The founders Sameer Ramesh and Mohammed Zeeshan are final year students in Nagpur and Chennai, respectively. The Climber has a presence in Bengaluru, Chennai, Nagpur, Delhi and Vizag.

“The student community is far more open to ideas than other places. Also, it’s a city where start-ups are booming,” says Sameer. They won IIM Bangalore’s Bzzwings competition. “Being students ourselves, we felt there was a problem with the education system. Some of our classmates who weren’t interested in the subjects they were pursuing in college. We thought if only people followed their passion, they wouldn’t have these problems.” Among the features of The Climber is their mentorship programme, My Captain. “Mentors are graduates or those who are about to graduate who guide students. Apart from My Captain, there’s It’s Time India, an offline interactive session with school students, from class 8 to 12. As each and everyone is different, we have an activity in which we distribute A4 size papers to everyone.

We tell them to close their eyes, follow instructions. From this they create patterns. Even though the instructions are exactly the same for everyone, the patterns they create are different from each other. This shows how unique we are.” They also run Inking Pages - a monthly magazine written, edited and designed entirely by students, and Under Project Aseem, the magazine is also recorded in an audio format and is distributed to institutions for the visually impaired. “After a crowd-funding campaign, we raised enough to print the magazine in Braille as well,” says Sameer.

I Love Mondays

Founded by Mala Martina in 2012, I LoveMondays, which was incorporated as a private limited in 2013, helps with career choices, facilitating students to experience a particular industry to make an educated decision. The idea started from a book by the same name as the company, written by Mala. “It is about the 30 people’s experiences of how they made it in their respective industries. “We have a basic test, after which we put the child through a junior internship. We focus on new age and not conventional careers. And we work with the best like A.R. Rehman and Shivamani,” says Mala.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 12:07:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/change-makers-for-the-youth/article7833107.ece

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