By Lipi Mehta:
How often do we find ourselves groaning and complaining about the state of the world? Climate change is leading to extreme weather conditions, the gap between the poor and the wealthy hardly seems to decrease. And ‘progress’? A difficult word to use in surroundings where you can hardly see any real change. So then we complain about this and that, about being stuck in the traffic and prices of vegetables hitting the roof by the dozen! And what happens once we’re done cursing? In most situations, nothing.
But here are 10 individuals who decided to do something. On National Youth Day, the stories of these young people are sure to inspire you. And if you know of anyone who’s doing some exemplary work, do share their stories with us in the comments below.
A graduate from the Vellore Institute of Technology and an engineer by profession, Somil decided to work towards providing lighting and charging provisions in Gangapur village of Pusa block, Samastipur district, Bihar. And what keeps him going? “The smiles on the faces of people in whose lives you are bringing some change.”
Read his full story here: From Darkness To Light: How Somil Daga Changed Things In This Village In Bihar
A forest management student who chose to work for the upliftment of rural Chhattisgarh rather than become an IFS officer! Shashank gave one year of his life to work with the local population of Bastar district and created self-help groups and did not let any failures deter him from working on other projects.
Read his full story here: Would You Work In A Village For 1 Year If Given The Chance? Meet Someone Who Did
Amidst societal taboos and stigmatization, Simren took it upon herself to raise awareness about women’s health in rural Rajasthan. Not only that, she went a step ahead and started working on the production of sanitary napkins using the local cloth for women of that area. She empowered the women of the area, not only be educating them about menstrual hygiene but by giving them a means of livelihood by making eco-friendly sanitary pads!
Read her full story here: In Rural Rajasthan, A Woman Is Setting Other Women Free, One Sanitary Napkin At A Time
Seven years ago, Jithin stepped into a shelter home in Cochin to celebrate his friend’s admission to a prestigious college with the children there. Once he saw how much these kids needed and understood their problems in a deeper way, he vowed to never turn back. He created ‘Make A Difference’ or ‘MAD’ which is India’s fastest growing youth volunteer network today, with its presence in 23 cities!
Read his full story here: With His Inspiring Journey, The Founder Of ‘MAD’ Will Make You Believe In The Power Of Change
Srikanth Bolla was told that he couldn’t pursue the sciences because he was blind. He was told to leave aside his dreams of being an engineer. But that didn’t pull him down – in fact, it made him stronger! Srikanth went on to become the first visually challenged student from India to get admission at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and today has helped hundreds of people with disabilities find meaningful employment.
Watch his story here: How Being Blind Didn’t Stop Srikanth Bolla From Clearing MIT, Becoming An Entrepreneur
Born and brought up in rural India, Pallavi is no stranger to the problems that women face in many places across the country. Inspired to empower them, she set up a project to enable them to earn their own livelihoods. In some villages of Karnataka, she trained women in handicraft making and food processing, and through various activities helped 352 women become entrepreneurs!
Find out more about story here: Watch How 1 Girl Enabled 352 Women In Rural Karnataka To Stand On Their Own Feet
Born into a marginalised family, married off at 12, but today, a fearless journalist in the heart of Uttar Pradesh! Suneeta’s story is one of conviction and the willpower to turn her life around. Along with a group of other journalists, she works with Khabar Lahariya, India’s only multilingual, multimedia news network that is run by a collective of rural women journalists.
Watch a video on her journey here: Married At 12, Journalist At 27: The Khabar Lahariya Journalist Who’s Changed Lives
Chhaya was born and brought up in rural Maharashtra. With 7 children to fend for, her parents found it tough to make ends meet and she was married off after her 10th standard. When her husband had to change jobs and things became even more difficult, Chhaya decided to learn stitching and started her own classes when she was in her 20s. It has been 25 years today and she has trained more than 3000 women to earn their own livelihoods!
Read her full story here: The Reluctant Entrepreneur: A Woman Who Changed 3000 Lives Without Even Realising It
Santosh Patil has worked in rural Karnataka and educated over a 100 farmers about the importance of organic farming and negative effects of pesticides. He lived and worked with the farmers’ community and even came up with an ingenious solution to prevent bullock cart accidents at night.
Watch him talk about his projects here: Watch What Happened When A Young Man Applied Radium To A Bullock Cart
Akshay is the Founder and President of Avanti, an organisation whose learning centres provide low-income students with world-class science and mathematics education. He was accepted at Harvard Business School but he decided to become a social entrepreneur instead and change the lives of those in need.
Watch him share his story at Youth Ki Awaaz’s flagship event, Converge: “Why I Paused Harvard To Change The World”: Akshay Saxena At CONVERGE
So why wait? Clichéd but true – Be the change you want to see in this world.