We Are Young (WAY) Foundation, is a youth-led registered organisation established in the year 2013 in Guwahati. Over the past 5 years, WAY has engaged with more than 14,000 young people and children on the ground through its various youth-centric programs to instil and inspire active citizenship. Since its inception, WAY has focused on empowering youth across Northeastern states, especially Guwahati.
Indrajit Sinha, WAY’s founder and director, hails from Silchar and has always felt the need to do something for the youth in the region. And helping anyone doesn’t always mean monetarily. It could mean helping to empower as well. And that sort of help goes a long way, enabling an individual to make informed decisions and earn a livelihood with dignity.
WAY has been empowering people through life skills. In the recent past, the foundation has engaged with the local populace through different campaigns and created a significant impact around Guwahati. The unique aspect of this youth-led organisation is the fact that volunteers lead it. Financial challenges notwithstanding, volunteers have given their heart and soul to this project.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, meeting people and conducting sessions were difficult. There is a saying that when one door closes, another opens. However, often we look for so long and so regretfully towards the closed door that we miss the one which has opened for us. The team of WAY did not lose heart and decided to organise Global Youth Meet 2020 — a virtual meet of young changemakers — to celebrate International Youth Day on 12 August.
It was a concerted effort to ensure that the voices of the youth across the globe reach everyone. Many young people across the world participated in interactions and events. The project commenced on 12 August and went on till 15 August. Participants from all around the world were able to voice their local social issues by submitting artworks such as painting, poetry, video monologues and articles.
Raisona from Bangladesh addressed the stigma around mental health, Ridaka shed light on drug abuse among the youth of Bangladesh and Auniva expressed her views on domestic violence and abuse of women. Ermir, a youth worker and founder of a youth-centric organisation in Kosovo, held a live Instagram session and discussed youth action in the global social development space. He emphasised that the pandemic has also brought in an opportunity to work together for the planet.
Sara Khaddam, the country coordinator from Syria, shared how the decade-long war has deeply scarred the minds of young people in her country and the fact that they needed immediate professional help. Adding to it, Andrew from Ukraine, who also leads NGSU and an aspiring final-year medical student, highlighted the importance of raising awareness on mental health and various aspects of it at the global level.
The campaign succeeded in striking a chord and highlighted the problems faced by youth during the pandemic. Young people from Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Canada, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kosovo, Nepal, Syria, Tanzania, Ukraine and Zimbabwe were part of this global campaign. Following the meet, the plan is to build a strong collective of like-minded young people and provide a global platform for young people across the world.