We are often seen as
‘citizens of tomorrow’
who should take responsibility for
development and nation-building.
What about what we are going through Today?
Young people account for more than 35% of India’s population, but continue to be unsupported, misguided, misunderstood and under-valued.
Being young in a fast-changing society like India is not easy. Young people have to navigate and make difficult transitions regarding careers, relationships, sexuality and marriage against a backdrop of increasing urbanisation, migration, religious polarisation, gender discrimination, caste atrocities and environmental degradation.
Every young person is pulled in different directions by their own hopes and dreams, and by what society expects them to do and believe. Being young makes them vulnerable in many ways. They are often exploited, rarely allowed to voice their opinions, take risks or participate in the political, economic and social life of the country.
The education system in India is failing its youth.
Though access to college level “education” has improved, young people are unable to exercise autonomy over their life-decisions, unaware of their social and economic realities, and powerless to effect change in their lives. Youth unemployment rate is at 23%, and with the rise of the ‘gig economy’, disadvantaged youth are at the mercy of exploitative and discriminatory systems.
Every hour, a student in India commits suicide.
Youth are vulnerable to depression, self harm, and socially harmful behaviours when they are faced with social exclusion, “love failure’, “exam failure”, joblessness, loneliness and confusion. According to WHO, 20% of youth are at risk of developing a mental illness.
There is a need for youth to build supportive friendship networks, access mentoring and get support in times of crisis.
120 million young people reach working age every year.
However, many are often forced into jobs in which they have little or no say.
Disadvantaged youth are exploited by accepting jobs with low wages and little scope for growth or expression of their potential. Few have the opportunity to explore their options, much less pursue their dreams.
Young people are often viewed as a ‘demographic dividend’.
Reducing the youth of India to a resource for economic growth is heartbreaking and dehumanising! State and civil society have not recognised youth as a constituency with rights, but see them as an economic resource or a social problem.
Youth leadership potentials are not developed or given a direction. Young women are not developed as leaders and are not represented in leadership roles in local youth groups.
The irony of youth-hood is that while they are expected to make decisions, young people do not have the freedom to explore options or exercise autonomy.
India is the youngest country in the world
Is society equipped to provide youth with what they need?
We partner with young people and invite them to embark on a journey of discovering self and society. We do not believe in “using” youth to deliver programmes or serving youth “in need”. Rather, we help them carve out new paths for themselves and the world, by taking charge of their own destinies.
If young people have the freedom to critique and explore experiences, they will make decisions that are liberating for themselves and transformative for society.
Building Young Leaders
A Fifth Space
Youth have no opportunity to reflect on themselves, society, the development paradigm or emerging notions of nation and patriotism. This confuses them and makes them vulnerable to manipulation.
The most important thing for young people is a non-judgemental space where they can talk, gain exposure to newer perspectives and current affairs, make new friends, share their career dilemmas, and learn about new careers and ways of living.
This Fifth Space provides young people with a support system in the form of peers and mentors, giving them a chance to share what’s on their minds and in their hearts.
Preparing Youth with Life and Livelihood Skills
One of the most pressing questions of our times is: Will there be jobs for everyone in the near future? How will we, a growing, increasingly educated population, manage to secure a good livelihood and simultaneously build our dream careers?
At Baduku Centre for Livelihood Learning, we reimagine learning to include experiential, participatory and creative pedagogies. Our interdisciplinary approach integrates self and social awareness with knowledge and technical skills.
Promoting Youth Rights
Youth rights are Human Rights that recognise youth-hood as a unique stage in Human life. The Human Right to life, freedom, equality, and livelihood are contextualised for young people.
Samvada actively advocates for youth rights. At a national level, we want to encourage conversations around the importance of youth rights, as well as push for a revision of the National Youth Policy.