With their innovative ideas, passion and commitment youth have always been regarded as torch bearer of change. Their involvement in development becomes all the more important and relevant in a country like India, which on one hand has the highest population of young people in the world, and on the other a plethora of development challenges. To bring youth, from different parts of the country, face to face with some of these challenging issues, global think tank Development Alternatives (DA) and VSO, the world’s leading international development organization have launched a unique youth volunteering and empowerment program Youth Citizen Service (YCS) Leadership Challenge, 2015.
YCS is an initiative aimed to provide an opportunity to the youth between 22-29 years age group to actively work towards addressing development issues while they themselves build a deeper understanding of the dynamics of poverty and development. For this, Development Alternatives selected 11 youngsters from across the country. Among these 11 young Indians, two Assam youths, Raktav Ranjan Kaushik and Zeina Mehal Islam have been selected for this 6-weeks long program. As a part of this leadership program, Raktav is living in Tikamgarh district of Bundelkhand region and working on the project of strengthening economic models for better livelihood. Zeina is spending her days in Sarmau village in Jhansi district and working on literacy awareness program.
A resident of Chandmari, Zeina Mehla Islam is currently pursuing her higher studies in International Relationships at ‘Institut Barcelona d´Estudis Internacionals’, Barcelona in Spain. The 23-year old is also an alumnus of Chris College, Bengaluru. The young girl believes that her keen interest to learn people will help her to understand the society better. “I got the chance to visit many places and met people from various sections of the society globally. But I had no previous chance to know my own country so closely so far.” Zeina said.
Twenty six year old Golghat boy Raktav Ranjan is an alumnus of ‘Gauhati University’ and an avid social worker in the state. An energetic member of a few social clubs in Assam, Raktav is a passionate filmmaker and also has done a course in filmmaking. “Films are the easy way of communication with masses. Through my films I always try to reach to the maximum number of people. Majorly my films are based on social issues, which people need to understand and care for,” Raktav said. Raktav believes that through this leadership program he will learn to help his fellow citizens even with limited resources.
“As a part of YCS Leadership Challenge2015, these young people will live in host homes and work with Development Alternatives for six weeks in Bundelkhand district. In this engagement, they will discover different perspectives to development, innovatively address problems faced by the people through community participation, ideas and better resource use. “It’s a big opportunity for these youth to learn interpersonal skills and enhance their leadership qualities by gaining valuable experience in the development sector,” says ZeenatNiazi, Vice President, Development Alternatives.
“Through YCS, we transform India’s demographic dividend into a democratic one. YCS gives the selected youth an opportunity to change the world within and around them,” shares Shaleen Rakesh, Executive Director, VSO India.
Youth Citizen Service-2015
Youth Citizen Service is an action learning program which provides a unique opportunity for youth to understand and actively work towards addressing development issues. During this six week long training program, each group of volunteers will stay with a host family in the community with limited resources in various remote villages in Jhansi and Orchha districts. These young participants will be assigned responsibilities in different fields that include literacy and livelihood. “It’s a big opportunity for these youth to learn interpersonal skills and enhance their leadership qualities by gaining valuable experience in the development sector,” says Zeenat Niazi, Vice President, Development Alternatives.
About Development Alternatives
Development Alternatives (DA) is a premier social enterprise with a global presence in the fields of green economic development, social empowerment and environmental management. It is credited with numerous innovations in clean technology that help create sustainable livelihoods in the developing world. DA focuses on empowering communities through strengthening people’s institutions and facilitating their access to basic needs; enabling economic opportunities through skill development for green jobs and enterprise creation; and promoting low carbon pathways for development through natural resource management models and clean technology solutions.
About VSO India
VSO India is an Indian development organisation committed to addressing issues of poverty and inequality. It harnesses the energy of youth and corporate volunteers to enable change. VSO India is a part of VSO International which is the world’s leading independent international development organisation working for change through volunteers. Globally, VSO works in more than 27 countries across Asia–Pacific & Africa regions. The organization mobilises people to participate actively in the development process through volunteering, active citizenship, and advocacy. (www.vsoindiatrust.org)