On the 10th and 11th of June, 2017, the Youth4Environment fellowship officially launched with a two day training session.
This fellowship will see passionate Delhi youth collaborate with their local RWA’s and neighbourhood communities to enact real change on environmental issues. The program is the brainchild of Haiyya, a local non-profit, working in conjunction with URJA (United Residents Joint Action), and Help Delhi Breathe, a citizen coalition group.
It is the first program of its kind, tapping into the under-utilised resource that is the RWA network and empowering young people to create change on a local level. The Fellows come from all across Delhi, representing different neighbourhoods, age groups, and walks of life. The one thing they all share is a passion for the environment, and a belief that they can make a difference.
With the support of all of the organisations involved, these Fellows are working to create campaigns on environmental issues that matter to them, no affect their local community directly. Their campaigns will address a range of subjects including solar power, waste segregation and green mobility, and engage with volunteers from the community to create long lasting, sustainable change.
Through inter-generational collaboration and community involvement, the Fellows hope to address urgent issues facing not only their neighbourhoods but also the planet as a whole. As Sahej, a Youth4Environment Fellow, puts it, “environmental issues are important because it’s our own home and our own rivers that we are polluting. We are writing our own obituaries.” But the Fellows are determined to change this. “Everyone has a part to play and a responsibility towards the environment. I am playing my part,” Aryan, another of the fellows, said.
Hosted at the YWCA in Connaught Place, the two training days were a chance for the newly inducted Fellows and members of the involved RWAs to meet each other, and pick up some of the vital skills that they will need to run successful environmental campaigns. A number of expert panelists addressed the Fellows, including Sunil Dahiya, Greenpeace India Campaigner; Rajiv Dinesh, Co- Founder and CEO of Sunfund Renewable; YK Chawla, Energy Advisor, Government of India and Sarika Panda Bhatt, Manager, World Resources Institute. The Fellows left even more invigorated and excited about the months ahead, and many have already started work, hosting meetings and events within their communities.
Shashi Issar, a Youth4Environment Fellow from Ashok Vihar, recently arranged for Greenpeace India’s Solar Bus initiative to visit his community and educate people about solar energy. This bus also visited Jorbagh, where Manya Berri (another Fellow) shared the benefits of solar energy with her community. Another Fellow, Mitali Chakraborty, held a plantation drive which planted 50 trees in an effort to green up his South Delhi neighbourhood. And this is just the very beginning. It will no doubt be inspiring to see what these otherwise ordinary citizens can achieve over the next few months.