By Anshul Tewari:
6 years! What can happen in 6 years? 6 years ago, in 2008, I started Youth Ki Awaaz, and a lot has changed since. Today is a big day! As I look back at my journey since 2008, much has turned around. Social media, that was looked at with suspicious eyes is the biggest form of media available to people, organizations, decision-makers and causes. Bloggers, who were once just mere writers for the world are now agents of change. Politics, that once fought out its battles via television and newspapers is now battling it out on social media. But what can really happen in 6 years? In 6 years, what started out as a personal blog where I’d voice my opinions has grown to give a voice to over 25000 young people. A blog that was once read by a minuscule number of people now gets 1.5 million readers a month. Things have changed for a population that was ignored, stereotyped, termed as apathetic and kept on the fringes of decision making; the same population is in the center of every dialogue and discourse of our times. We started out when no one was willing to invest time and effort in this population – and see how things have changed in 6 years.
Every day of our journey, we learned, unlearned and relearned. Every decision we took was taken by an unshaken belief that there is more that media can do to empower the everyday folk with the right tools and technologies to speak up and voice themselves, because after all, they hold the power to change their future. Last one year in particular has been exceptional. We read stories of change, of personal battles by young men and women against the norms of the society, of victories and failures and everything that made us believe that we are here for a reason, and we won’t go away till we fulfill our purpose. Every single person who read, commented, and wrote has contributed to the creation of this platform and has played a huge role in ensuring that we grow strength by strength.
I still remember one of the first questions posed to me by a fellow student back in college, “But what can a blog really change?“, and the answer is right in front of us. Happy birthday, Youth Ki Awaaz! You changed my life, and that of so many others. And congratulations to the amazing team that takes up the mighty battle to empower the everyday young folk, every single day. And thank you all for standing by with your stellar support. Many more years to come! 🙂