“Working with youth” is a relatively new idea in India.
People often ask, “How does working with young people actually lead to social change?”
We see this as a two step process where our interventions lead to CHANGES IN YOUTH,
which then leads to CHANGES BY YOUTH.
The short term outcomes of our work are first manifest in new values, aspirations, sensitivities, life skills and livelihood skills in youth. This then results in new behaviors, decisions and personal and professional choices, initiatives in families, communities, campuses and workplaces in a way that challenges oppressive and unjust social systems and institutions.
Youth Leadership Programme
8700 young people(with more than 50% of them girls) sensitized to issues of caste, gender, sexuality, pluralism, environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
1010 Young leaders
trained and mentored to take initiatives in their colleges and communities.
12 Youth led Campaigns
with over 1000 youth led events
have spread awareness reaching over 1,05,000 youth about a range of social issues like harassment-free college campuses, groundwater pollution, the need for career guidance youth rights, among others.
From data collected in 2012 of 36 students who had been regularly attending programs in our Youth Resource Centers, we saw significant shifts in young people’s aspirations as well as their circle of friends.
Changes in Young People’s Aspirations
The graph below indicates the shifts in the 4 dimensions of young peoples’ aspirations, where there was a significant change in young peoples’ motivation which includes aspiring to earn and improve their status as well as to express interests, creativity and a desire to serve society.
Changes in circle of friends
The graph here shows that our programs have helped young people move towards friendships that cross the boundaries of caste, class, gender, religion and English proficiency.
Maximum change was recorded in openness to mingle across religion.
What young people are saying about the programme
Get to Know Kishore
Kishore is from a very poor family. His father is a Tamil speaking Christian and his mother is from a scheduled caste community. There was always tension in their family regarding the rituals and religious practices they should follow.
Let Kishore tell you how the programme helped him!After the Gender Nota, I have started to understand my mother and my sister. The most important thing is that I have learnt the meaning of religion, the purpose of faith and how to understand rituals.
How Kishore took Action!
At home, I now do things that only women were supposed to do in our family. The Green nota has inspired me to pursue our land documents so that one day I can practice sustainable farming. I also encourage dialogue about festivals and rituals to help my family appreciate and respect all rituals with some rationality.
After the Vruti Nota, I became aware that I need to choose my career according to my interests. I withdrew from the Commerce course, where I was unhappy, and now I am studying Law!
Get to Know Ummi Zaiba
Ummi Zaiba is a Muslim girl from Hoovina Hadagali taluk of Bellary district. She is a Bachelor of Science student at Chitradugra, and stays in a hostel.
Zaiba has been coming to our Centre since 2017. Her father runs a shop, and although her parents own some land, they cannot farm it due to lack of irrigation. Zaiba grew up in a fundamentalist and patriarchal family where she could not express herself or even look at her father’s face. She had to wear the burkha against her will, and when we first met her, she had very low self esteem.
Let Zaiba tell you how the programme helped her!
The leadership building programme helped me realise that I have strong opinions and helped me feel confident about my convictions. I am happy that I attended workshops like Basic Nota, Gender Nota, Self Defence workshop, Pluralism Nota, Social Inclusion Nota and LB workshop. I never had a habit of reading, but now I read a lot.
How Zaiba took Action!
In 2018, I emerged as a leader by leading the 2018 Campaign on youth right to higher education.
I addressed students, press and public meetings in Chitradurga and in Bangalore, and spread the message about youth right to higher education. I am a part of the campaign for establishment of a Youth Commission. I have started negotiating with my family to lead a life according to my choices and desires, and have more voice in choosing my friends, my clothes and my career!
Get to Know Lohit Dev
Lohit was associated with the Tumkur YSK while he was doing his pre-university there in 2015. He has been associated with Bangalore YRC since he moved to Bangalore to do his BE in BioMedical Engineering.
Let Lohith tell you how the programme helped him!
Over the last few years I have attended the Basic Nota, Gender Nota, and Pluralism Nota. I also completed the leadership workshop. A turning point for me, was the Body workshop conducted by Samvada which helped me understand my gender fluidity and put me in touch with people who could listen to my anxieties about my gender and sexuality.
How Lohith took Action!
I played a key role in the campaigns Hold On! College First, Marriage Next! (2016), What Next? Just Guide, Don’t Decide! (2017), and the 2019 campaign for setting up a Youth Commission. At the same time, I continued to be associated with other struggles. I participated in a fact finding on farmer suicides, and gave a public talk on the need for a scientific temper during a state level rally on Rationalism.
After participating in Queer film festivals and film festival on women’s issues in Kuppali, I have been consistently championing the rights of women, rights of queer youth and am very interested in the linkages between sexuality and mental health.
As a part of the National Youth Festival in Rajasthan, I was a part of the discussions on vision for 2069 in the context of climate change and social inequality. I believe it is our responsibility as youth to work towards a positive vision for the world. I am also a voice for queer rights.
Livelihood Education Programme
graduated from Baduku in the last 12 years with a steady growth in admissions and interest in Baduku Courses.
70% of our studentsemployed or pursuing higher education in the profession for which they were trained in Baduku Community College.
There has also been a steady growth in admissions and interest in Baduku courses.
Baduku has consistently focused on youth from marginalized backgrounds and has ensured a significant presence of women among our student body. Such students are then able to enter well established professions.
The impact of the work at Baduku Community college does not only lie in the number of students we have reached or the number of programmes run.
Our impact can be seen in 3 ways:
1. Helped the excluded enter and grow in well established professions like journalism and college level teaching.
A significant impact has been in the field of Journalism in Karnataka. Of the total 138 Journalism students that have graduated till 2019, 40% are women and 43% are Dalit. Preference has also been given to the most excluded OBC’s, youth from North Karnataka and Muslim youth.
2. Promoted the following new professions in response to emerging social needs –
Counseling, Early Childhood Care & Education, Waste Management and Career Guidance.
The strategy to promote new professions is to first ascertain social needs, and then train about 300 youth in each profession. We also support them after the training so that they are able to establish themselves and the profession.
The Counseling for Women’s Wellness and Justice course has 196 alumni (28 in the English Medium course and 168 in the Kannada Course).
They are employed or associated with women’s organisations like Mahila Samkahya, IT for Change, Sakhi, Jagruta Mahila Sanghatan where counseling is being offered to women. By equipping these organisations with trained counselors, the profession is gradually being established.
131 students have graduated from the Early Childhood Care and Education Course since 2008, conducted by Baduku independently or in collaboration with the Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare.
47 students have been trained to become professionals in the field of Waste Management since 2017.
They have been employed in newly emerging waste management enterprises and receive remuneration ranging from Rs 16,000 to Rs 40,000 per month in supervisory roles.
49 have been trained as Career Guidance professionals since 2017 and 80% of them are working full time or part time in the field. Samvada has also supported 10 young women career guides to offer career information and guidance services to rural girls.
3. Helped to change practices in professions that perpetuate social exclusion / environmental damage like Agriculture and Tourism
Baduku works with young farmers as well as others who want to work in the tourism industry, to integrate social equality and environmental sustainability into the way Agriculture and Tourism is understood and practiced.
208 young people have been trained in Sustainable Farming. Of these 74% are transitioning to organic farming and 12 of them are influencing other farmers to go the organic way.
34 youth have been trained in Responsible Tourism. They are being organized into collectives by Sakhi in Hospet to offer community based tourism packages to visitors coming to Hampi.
What young people are saying about the programme
Get to know Parijatha
Parijatha comes from a farmer’s family and has seen much hardship in her life. She finished her post graduation in Social Work and later did the PG Diploma in Counseling for Women’s wellness and Justice at Baduku Community College. Parijatha was awarded the “Nirbhaya Award” on March 8th on the occasion of International Working Women’s Day 2018 for the work she has been doing.
How the programme helped her!
The course made me realise the importance of counselling skills while interacting with women who have gone through so much trauma and violence. The course also opened up new perspectives for me. I had a basic idea of the problems women workers face (I currently work in the field of labour rights), but the course gave me a more nuanced understanding, for example how globalisation impacts women labourers.
How Parijatha is taking action!
I worked as a labour welfare officer in the garments industry. When the management refused to give salary to the workers, I felt there was injustice and began to fight for workers’ rights. Currently I’m working with Stree Jagruti Samiti that deals with the struggles of working class women. My area of work is around domestic violence, sexual harassment, bonded labor, trafficking, child labor and rehabilitation of women. The women I work with have experienced a lot of trauma, mental and physical abuse. With the skills I learnt in the counseling course, I am able to constructively intervene and work with them. I am also involved in research and consultation work related to labour cases, advocacy and legal interventions that are needed in the unorganised sector. I believe that we need to work towards a society where there will be no exploitation and violence.
Get to know Nanjundaswamy
Nanjundaswamy hails from a farming family. As a result of the deteriorating conditions in agriculture with high rates of unproductivity, market price variations and other climatic reasons, Nanjundaswamy had lost interest in agriculture.
How the programme helped him!
The Sustainable agriculture course in Baduku renewed my interest in agriculture as a livelihood. I realised that agriculture is not just a means to earn an income but a way of sustainable living. The course broadened my understanding of agriculture to include the political, social and economical aspects of agriculture.
How Nanjundaswamy is taking action!
Nanjundaswamy is now a full time agriculturalist and is organically cultivating rain fed crops like millets, dicotyledon crops, mangoes and coconut. He actively participates and volunteers in an agricultural group called Manmayee - a network of farmers that have come together to support each other and promote farmers’ rights. Nanjundaswamy also served as the President for the group. His dream is to initiate a new farmer-owned market chain to curb the miscreant activities of middle men.
Get to know Ashik
Ashik came to Bangalore after completing a degree in Journalism. However, he never imagined that he could build a livelihood out of it. After arriving in the city, he worked in a hotel as a waiter for some time and was then introduced to the Journalism Course in Baduku Community College.
How the programme helped him!
The Journalism course changed my life completely. It was here that pursuing journalism as a career became a dream as well as a reality. I had several apprehensions and anxieties about the profession, but the course helped me overcome these. The course and the college has taught me how to live. I have experienced happiness, sadness and conflict in Baduku. My experiences here have taught me so many things - that education is not about syllabus and textbooks and marks that you get in exams, but about how we build ourselves and our personalities. The course helped me build a mirror inside me that constantly keeps me aware of things. I look inside this mirror and remind myself to love myself. A course like this gives boys like me, who come from a Muslim community and are always viewed with suspicion, the courage to stand up and not be weakened by anything. Today, as a journalist, I have overcome several challenges. I continue to face challenges on a daily basis but I have blossomed in such a way that I can face all those who try to suppress me. I have now gained considerable experience in Visual media and am currently working as an independent journalist. I will soon be launching my own online platform as well.