Movie shows, exotic holidays, hanging out with friends, and other leisure activities, during annual breaks from schools and colleges, are all things of history for many youngsters in India. Driven by a social cause, with a sense of maturity, they prefer to abandon the comforts of home, to move out on a life-changing journey.
Equipped with life skills, with full of zeal and knowledge, youngsters choose to experiment. and test their metal on a grass root level, for their share of contributions to uplift the disadvantaged, and marginalised stakeholders of the country.
Working with Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group’s flagship programme, ‘No Child in Trash’, I got an opportunity to collaborate with many interns and volunteers who worked with waste picker children or children from waste picking families, in Delhi and NCR, to help them polish their academics, craft, and life skills.
I would observe a sea of change in the behaviour and communication of interns before and after the internship. Many interns would come again, and also teachers and children of the learning centre would inquire about their favourite ‘Bhaiya’ and ‘Didi’. I feel it’s mutual love and respect, which they both earn, during their interactions and some part of goodness stays with them forever. Children from the marginalised community get a chance to interact with these youth and help them to develop a confidence level which is very essential at the early stages of their life.
Spending a few weeks with children in the learning centre, roaming around the community, and closely observing the life of a waste picker, they consciously and subconsciously, start valuing their gifted life and learn humility, kindness and humanity. The intern, who comes with a certain perspective of life, goes back with a reality check.
About the Author:
Karan Minz handles operations at Chintan’s No Child in Trash programme, which fights child labour in the recycling sector. With an experience of 11 years in programme management, he specialises in rural management.