By YKA Staff:
Editor’s note: On November 12, Youth Ki Awaaz, along with Facebook India, presents its annual flagship event, CONVERGE. It’s going to be a power-packed day long festival, featuring a series of talks by change makers whose stories define our generation. In its third edition we hope to make it a bigger, better, and bolder event.
Here’s more about the speakers who’ll be sharing their stories and a glimpse of their amazing work:
Founder, Women and Youth for Peace and Development
A young, bold voice from Manipur, Monika has been an active advocate against the draconian AFSPA Act for the last 7 years. She is the Founder of Women And Youth for Peace and Development (WYPD), an Imphal-based NGO which was founded in 2015. It focuses on empowering women in rural Manipur as well as women who have been widowed by the present conflict in the state.
Monika is a loud voice against the discrimination faced by North East Indians in the rest of the country, her recent Facebook post sharing a particularly haranguing experience at Delhi’s airport went viral, started an important conversation and received overwhelming support on social media.
She is also the Curator of Global Shapers Imphal Hub by the World Economic Forum.
Activist, Tibetan Freedom Movement
Born to a Tibetan refugee family in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Tenzin Tsundue is a part of the Tibetan freedom movement. is socio-political activism has taken him to 15 different jails in Tibet and India, and also to 20 different countries to talk about Tibet. He was awarded the Picador-Outlook Prize for non-fiction in 2001, and is the author of several books including “Crossing the Border”, “Semshook: Essays On Tibetan Freedom Struggle”, and “Tsengol: Stories and Poems of Resistance”. At the moment he is working on a new book, a collection of enduring stories of Tibetan exiles.
Co-founder, All India Bakchod
Tanmay is one of the co-founding members of AIB – India’s funniest and edgiest comedy collective that has revolutionised comedy content in the country.
What makes AIB stand out is the fact that through humour, they have started important conversations on various social issues, their campaign on net neutrality received nation-wide support. Tanmay, in his personal capacity has also talked about some very important topics like feminism, fat shaming and Indian politics.
At CONVERGE, hear him talk about how comedy can be used to create conversations that drive social change.
Co-founder, Project FUEL
In the past 5 years since civil war started in Syria, over 4.8 million people have been forced to leave the country, and 6.1 displaced within the country. We’ve read about it, watched heart-breaking videos, and yet, there is a large disconnect between us and the ground reality because of which we fail to truly understand the horrors Syrians have been made to go through.
Deepak, who has been working as a life skills educator in India since the age of 17, wanted to change that. As part of Project FUEL, which he co-founded, Deepak collects life lessons from people all over the world and turns them into interactive and performance activities to pass on the learnings. He is currently on a 90-day journey across Europe for ‘The Masterpiece Tour’ where he is taking life lessons for people affected by the recent migrant crisis – both refugees and citizens of countries that have provided asylum to them. He will share these experiences at CONVERGE.
Co-founder and CEO, Nearbuy
Ankur was one of the first people hired by Groupon (one of the most famous deal buying portals in the world), to head its India office in 2011. However, the startup didn’t do well. Even after being rebranded as ‘Crazeal’, not much changed. That’s when Ankur decided to change things around. The venture was turned into an independent entity, and renamed as Nearbuy.
The platform is active in 33 cities, with about 50,000 buyers. And while it’s not making profits just yet, it’s not in losses anymore either.
At CONVERGE, hear Ankur share his story of success and failure as a startup entrepreneur in India.
G.B. Road is home to about 4,000 sex workers in Delhi. It is also one of most crime-prone areas in the city. Not only are the living conditions extremely difficult, the residents face harassment at the hands of authorities if they ever ask for. Leaving her lucrative government job, Ritumoni co-founded Kat-Katha in 2012, a one-of-a-kind NGO that works with women who live on G.B. Road to improve living conditions; and with their children through education and skill-training programs. Ritumoni has also worked with the HIV intervention program of NACO in this area.
Para-Athlete, Disability rights activist
For probably the first time in India, the Paralympics in Rio got recognisable attention in mainstream media. With our 19 athlete contingent coming back with 4 medals, their performance can only be described as spectacular. But even then, live telecasts of the event weren’t aired on Indian TVs.
Pradeep, a national level table tennis player is an active advocate for the rights of people with disability. He is the
General Secretary of an NGO called ‘Association of Disabled People’. Among many others, Pradeep has received the IBN7 Super Idol award, Achiever’s Award 2010, and the National Youth Award 2011-12 for his work to promote disabled sports and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities.
Director of Haji Public School
Having spent most of her life in big cities, Sabbah moved to the mountain village of Breswana in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. At 7,000 ft, it is practically cut off from the rest of the state, making quality education a distant dream. Along with her family, Sabbah runs Haji Public School. What started with 2 teachers and 35 students in 2009, now has over 350 students and permanent staff of over 20. The Haji family’s mission of setting up good schools here is to “make education accessible to the inaccessible”. Dozens of Indian and international volunteers stay there as well and help teach the students, as they learn about the village and its people themselves.
Co-Founder, Our Cities
After completing her education in Columbia University, Alessandra came back to her hometown in Rio to find that a lot of young people did not have an outlet to channel their frustrations over how the city was functioning. With the belief that the city isn’t just a space governed by policies and authority, Alessandra founded Meu Rio, an online platform that allows citizens to have a say in what’s happening in the city.
Meu Rio was received with much enthusiasm and soon became the largest mobilisation network in Rio de Janeiro. It has now expanded to a global level as Our Cities, an online platform that develops tools for civic engagement and participation in cities.
So come, join us as these incredible individuals share their stories with us. Click here for more details.