Empowering our youth to put their best foot forward
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and we are delighted that over 1,000 young people applied to attend this year’s Yuva Nirman Youth Motivational Camp on the theme of atrocities on women and girls and how to prevent them. The 250 selected to attend were rewarded with presentations and insights from a powerhouse of prominent personalities, including well-acclaimed social activist, Anna Hazare.
Kopardi: An Eye Opener
“The uniqueness of our youth programs is they build the character, resilience and attitude of everyone who attends,” opinioned Anil Gawade, Senior Assistant Director of Snehalaya, and this year, given the recent rape and murder of girl in Kopardi, which is right on our doorstep, we really wanted to focus on the importance of gender equality and respect for women of all ages. Camp attendees were given the opportunity to visit the community and show their support for the family. Through the planting of a tree in remembrance of the young girl who lost her life, aptly named “Brotherhood”, we also hope to spread awareness and prevent future violence.
The Legend Speaks
The camp highlight was being able to hear from the legendary Anna Hazare who urged the assembled youth to take an active role in preventing social injustices, such as the Kopardi incident and to also help the victims of such cases.
Over the course of the three-day programme, further motivational speakers shared their own insights into the issues and suggested how the youth could choose careers to address the issues in a practical way.
These included human rights activist, Asim Sarode, and well-known child rights activist and lawyer, Shirin Merchant, who both encouraged law as a profession in helping the vulnerable to fight their case. Ajay Kingare, Founder of Maitra Mandiyali, conducted an interactive session, encouraging participants to avoid becoming addicted to social media and instead use it for good causes such as fundraising.
Attendees also enjoyed a performance from Dr Vrushali Randhir, who enacted a play based on the life of the legendary pioneer of girls’ education in Maharashtra during the pre-independence era, Savitribai Phule.
The camp concluded with the interview of Sanjay Avate, Writer and Chief Editor of Saam News Channel who stressed, “The youth should be influential in making the political parties take decisions which are beneficial to the citizens of the country.”
In their words
Our camps aim to nurture a sense of social harmony and dignity for labour. During their time here, as well as hearing from speakers, attendees were able to see first-hand the work of Snehlaya and also took part in voluntary work around campus.
We asked what motivates and what empowers them to drive for a change?
“I have always wanted to help. But I didn’t know where to go. This place is something special.”
“These youth camps should be in every city. More and more youth should be attending this to bring change.”
Our next camp is scheduled for January 2017. If you are interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.