How can youth contribute to local community development
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE
Take a quick glance around yourself. What are certain bothersome things that stare you right in the face? Disparity. Destitution. Deprivation. Defiance. On one hand, our society is inundated with economic inequalities. The gap between the privileged and the deprived has widened so far that it could rattle the economic fundamentals at a dangerous level. On the other hand, our Indian community is rich in diversity, diligence and young blood.
Just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction, every problem has an equally viable and effective solution. Our tipped-off-the-balance society can be brought to a fair scale with just some push from the future. No, I am not talking about time machines or sophisticated communication devices that can seek the advice of pioneers in the future. I am talking about the future strongholds of the country, the youth of the present.
A youth in his prime is an embodiment of suppleness, gusto and passion, driven by the incessant desire to prove himself. Tapping into this aspiration of the young and turning it into a national purpose can yield wondrous results. In short, feeding youth the mantra of ‘be the change you want to see’ can propel a two-faced impact – the new generation can be sensitized to national issues at an early and intimate level while initiating pertinent action to rescue those caught up in the vicious circle of scarcity.
Young minds are conducive to revolutionary ideas. Yet, overnight revolutions are best left to the filmmakers who bask in the glory of their make believe cinematography. The journey towards societal upliftment can begin only when the first step is taken. This first baby step forward needs to be spearheaded by the youth.
The key element that can break the economic barrier is education. While the well-off people are readily given access to top quality education, the relatively unfortunate have to make do with the affluent’s hand-me-downs. If an effort is made to expose them to similar opportunities, barricades between the two can be broken in no time.
Initiatives to set up community libraries with access to superior quality books, in rural areas as well as urban areas, for the disadvantaged can be a good start. In the US, community libraries are set up for every locality, breaking information and knowledge barriers across regions. Since government funding in a country like ours would mean a confortable twenty year lapse, private funding is the answer.
Campaigns and fundraisers by the youth to raise capital for building libraries and concrete classrooms will promote education. If schools are accessible, students will begin to be enrolled in larger numbers. Enthusiasm courses through the veins of the young. Their ability to coax people to contribute towards education cannot go in vain.
Though schools, however kuccha, exist in most rural areas, they lack efficient teaching modules and teachers. Since the young generation can relate on a better level to the students, taking up the role of an “acting” teacher in one of the community schools is a sure shot way to improve education quality. Young minds are homes to creative approaches and unconventional techniques which can enhance retention and interest of students.
If they take the responsibility of teaching into their hands, a new system of learning filled with exciting endeavors is sure to evolve. An interesting observation that can be noted here is that though some children enjoy studying, they are instilled with the pressure to perform. This burdens them with fear towards learning. Adopting a student-friendly teaching technique that rids the kids of their anxiety could be a giant leap forward in terms of education. For example, a child afraid of mathematics can be introduced to the subject with the help of something that he fancies, like chocolate addition and subtraction. Unconventional coaching practices such as these will come easy to the youth, since they’ve been students not very long ago.
Technological knowledge, again, is something that the youth can share with their deprived counterparts. Not only children, but the adults too can benefit from this. Computers and the internet are now a part and parcel of daily living, and not being accustomed to it can leave a person almost handicapped. A simple step such as assisting your domestic help with computer needs and imparting computer skills to her can go a long way.
Apart from education, youth driven programs can also assist a family in earning its livelihood. Most of the poor are disillusioned by the middlemen, who under the hoax of helping them, exploit their vulnerability. The youth can approach such misinformed people and alert them against such manipulation while creating awareness about the wonders of microloans. Micro credit, when availed by the poor, can aid them in forming their own little establishment, making them their own masters. Cottage industries and entrepreneurship will thrive and people will be able to generate their own income, thus being freed from the wrath of the gold-digging intermediaries.
For the youth who are hesitant to establish inter-personal rapports, change can be triggered indirectly as well. Environmental factors often affect the health of a community. Beaches and other public regions are often littered, causing inconvenience to passers-by and tourists. Organizing city or local clean ups along with a couple of friends can be a fun way of inducing development.
Some universities make it compulsory for their students to complete a specific amount of community service to be eligible for their graduation certificates. This is part of the holistic development of students, an attempt towards making them socially responsible. With one little action the chain reaction will never stop. There’s power in our choices and our choices can write the destiny of the country.