We know that the youth is gaining stride when different locations light up with hustle and activity celebrating International Youth Day (IYD). Live Chat, games and campaigns in Delhi, Changelooms program in Madhya Pradesh and workshops in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. On August 12th, 2018, the purpose of the collective was in its truest form.
ComMutiny – The Youth Collective is a coalition of 35 (& rising) youth led and youth engaging organizations across India working towards promoting empowering spaces for youth leadership. CYC aims to be one of the key youth workers’ associations in India.
These are on ground examples of the youth creating their own 5th Spaces. And youth facilitators seeing them through. This day signifies the young being enabled to become a part of a conversation and engage with this world through dialogue. Furthermore, learn from mentors, step out of their comfort zone and make choices based on passion. International Youth Day is a day demarking all our efforts. And this way, we have indeed created ‘Safe Spaces for Youth.’
Here are seven ways ComMutiny celebrated International Youth Day, 2018.
- 5th Space Chat with Ravi Gulati, New Delhi.
It was an hour of stories, insights, laughter and encouragement. “Dreams have a purpose,” Mr. Gulati said to more than 10,000 viewers through a Live Chat on Facebook. “They can draw you to something beyond today, larger than your own imagination sometimes.” On the occasion of IYD, Shivangi from ComMutiny spoke to Ravi Gulati, founder of Manzil, a nonprofit organization that provides a community and resources for local youth from low-income backgrounds. Ravi is also board member of Pravah and Co-founder of ComMutiny – The Youth Collective.
He is most widely known as Ravi bhaiya. And he describes himself as an honest, intensely introspective, vulnerable, solution oriented and a ‘peace junkie’. The last one, is a term that we hope catches on in youth work. If peace is a drug, Ravi suggests that it can be spread through dialogue. “Everybody changes without coercion,” Ravi said “it is a peaceful way of changing.”
Regarding The United Nations’ theme for IYD 2018, ‘Safe spaces for youth’ he said, “we really need to introspect as a culture, as a society what we need to change in ourselves to create that space… it’s not a physical space, it is each other.”
- Jagrik with Shades of Happiness, New Delhi
Roll the dice and pick your first task: the Jaagrik game has begun. 18 adolescents that are a part of the Shades of Happiness youth program participated in the Samvidhan LIVE! Be A Jagrik game along with CYC.
The activities began with an intense session that asked participants to imagine the rules of their own society. Later, during the course of one and a half hour orientation, youth facilitators Kanika Sinha and Apoorva Vasudev explored the role of the constitution in our lives and introduced the game to 9 pairs of students.
The kids knew much about the constitution and could recite portion of it by heart. However, the Jagrik game provided a rare opportunity for them to understand the values and dreams embedded in the constitution and to live life the constitutional way. The excitement and interest towards the game was palpable, and by the end, participants had taken ownership of their first task. All the best to them on this roller coaster gaming experience.
- Youth Adda on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), New Delhi
This IYD, the monthly Youth Adda came together at a restaurant in Hauz Khaz to discuss Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). This was a multi-stakeholder meeting along with Pravah, based on Haiyya’s ‘Health over stigma’ campaign in partnership with Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP).
A gathering of 23 participants and youth facilitators took part in a series of activities, that were instrumental in educating volunteers on SRHR. The discussion brought up the different rights available to women, especially unmarried women, and the insights and contributions of our female participants and youth facilitators were matched equally by the men in the gathering.
The four main activities began with a Bingo sheet game based on SRHR as an ice breaker, followed by a quiz and role play that helped to bring up the themes in SRHR. Lastly, the participants engaged in a discussion around consent, patriarchy and its influence on the medical system.
A diverse group of participants, including doctors, lawyers and LGBTQIA activists, helped in building a more inclusive perspective on SRHR. “Unprotected sex is mostly scary for women because they don’t know the options available to them”, said Anushree Rana, a medical student. Abhishek, who works at Haiyya, added “Condoms are more than about not getting pregnant”.
- Media Labs, Mumbai.
Media Labs, a fellowship program by Blue Ribbon Movement (BRM) in Mumbai, began its very first workshop on International Youth Day. “We were trying to reflect on what kind of media do we consume and how does it affect our thoughts”, said youth worker Kejal Savla, 24, from BRM.
It was a day long event of an edifying workshop which began with a discussion on various stories appearing in newspapers. And reflections on how these stories had shaped the participants. There were also sessions and exercises on identifying various patterns that are seen in the media, followed by discussions on what the consumer is doing about it.
Featured activities included giving new headlines to newspaper stories and then comparing them to existing ones. This largely helped in understanding bias in the media. “What really stood out is how all of us have in some ways become blind to how the stories have been said to us” said Kejal.
- Changelooms Event, Madhya Pradesh
Synergy Sansthan was in full swing with its Changelooms event of 170 young participants on International Youth Day with a day full of music, dance, theater and sports. “At home, they (young girls) have no freedom to eat, say and do as they want to. They need space to live their ideas…we give them space” said Rakesh, a youth worker at Synergy Sansthan.
Two main events were the focus of the day. The first event featured girls from tribal regions who came forward to introduce their culture with traditional musical instruments and dances, followed by an electrifying game of kabbadi.
For the second event, the focus shifted from youth to children. In order to create awareness, children who are part of Synergy’s program staged a play on children’s fundamental rights. The play showed how rights for children are there on paper but, unfortunately, these rights are never implemented. Furthermore, children never experience equal rights at home or in society. The play aimed to give children a platform where they can express themselves and was part of Synergy Sansthan’s ongoing efforts to give them the change they need. Youth participated in this collaborative theater too as mentors to the children to provide them change, direction and space.
The day ended with a girls cricket match and a dance called ‘halla bol’ to celebrate girl power. A final discussion followed that touched on youth’s desires and the importance of following their interests and aspirations in choosing their career paths.
- Interfaith Talk, Jaipur
As part of its IYD celebrations, Pravah Jaipur Initiative hosted an interfaith talk amongst 25 youth volunteers that was truly memorable. It was a talk on the importance of dialogue and how we can learn to listen to each other. Young people shared how, as our beliefs start weighing us down, people forget to understand one another. Although it becomes challenging, the discussion focused on how it is possible to overcome this roadblock. “People understood empathy…it is usually uncomfortable to see beyond your own beliefs…and they (participants) experienced that,” said Ashutosh, 29, the co-chief coordinator at Pravah Jaipur Initiative (PJI). Diversity was also a topic that featured in the discussion.
The inspiring consensus that emerged from this discussion was that it was possible to look at what was common and keeping Indians connected, in spite of the large differences that the country experiences. Lastly, volunteers participated in preparations of PJI’s annual youth event, ‘Jashn-E-Jaipur: A Youth Jumbish’. International Youth Day was certainly the perfect occasion to work towards this youth-led event showcasing the potential of young people as change-makers.
- Youth Adda, Jharkand.
Does the youth have a role in the democratic process? Or in society? Can boys cry? Or can women be protectors? These were some of the main topics of discussion at the Youth Adda hosted by People for Change on International Youth Day. Volunteers gathered to discuss many topical issues ranging from news stories in Jharkhand to politics and gender identity. Heavy conversations were made easy and comfortable. The day began with songs and ended with a potluck. But the focus was always on the youth. “If youth really are part of decision making, if youth really want, they have all the power to bring in the change,” said Souvik Saha, Founder of People for Change organization in Jharkhand.
This article is contributed by Ayesha Manocha, who is currently volunteering at ComMutiny.
ComMutiny – The Youth Collective (CYC) is working towards building vibrant eco-systems and youth-centric spaces which we call the 5th Space. The 5th Space is a space that exists beyond and between the 4 legitimate spaces occupied by youth that is Family, Friends, Education / Career and Recreation. These erstwhile spaces for youth are more often than not governed by others, the rules of these spaces and the norms are not set by young people. The 5th Space alternatively is co-governed by youth and the youth facilitators and rejects the instrumentalist view towards young people. It focuses on transforming young people by engaging them in deep self exploration and supporting their social action experiments to become changemakers and awakened active citizens (Jagriks) of their communities, their nations, the planet and the larger Universe.. A window to the 5th Space is offered in this short spunky animation 18 Till I Die