Over the last 30 years, we have constantly reinvented ourselves in response to the changing needs of youth in Indian society. The range of our programmes and the thrust of each intervention reflect our commitment to young people, our concern about their vulnerabilities, and our unwavering faith in their ability to transform themselves and the world.
Today, Samvada is a unique amalgamation of 5 Youth Resource Centres, 2 Yuva Samvada Kendras, Baduku Community College, a Youth Research Centre, a Resource Centre for Promotion of Youth Work and a Consulting Unit that provides services to Non-Profit Organisations.
YRCs / Youth Leadership Programme
In the last 27 years, we have reached 1,78,350 youth through our Youth Resource Centres, of which we have had a footfall of 30,000.
Over 8,700 young people have attended our youth sensitisation journey and over 1,010 have gone on to become youth leaders.
The Fifth Space is one that exists beyond the four spaces inhabited by young people – family, friends, education/work, and leisure.
In this space, young people can come together, share their experiences, receive guidance and support from youth mentors, and reflect upon the various aspects of their lives. It is a space where they can be seen and heard for who they are, and gain acceptance from their peers and mentors.
We provide this space through our Youth Resource Centres, also known as YRCs.
We currently have 5 Youth Resource Centres in Bangalore, Kolar, Chitradurga, Mangalore and Gulbarga. Through our Fellowship in Incubating YRCs, we have successfully facilitated the establishment of Signa in Tumkur and Sakhi in Hospete.
They provide a free and creative 5th space away from family, college, community and work.
These centres are equipped with film and book libraries, computers, courses and a range of information on various campaigns and job opportunities. Each of these centres have youth mentors who facilitate the learning process.
These YRCs do more than just offer workshops and guidance. They provide a space for young people to be seen and heard, for their life experiences to be acknowledged and accepted, and for them to begin to understand themselves and what they truly want from society and life.
YRCs sensitize youth to gender equity, social inclusion, ecological sustainability and pluralism through:
- Reaching out to students in colleges
- Engaging youth in discussions on current events
- Exposing young people to social problems
- Mentoring and career guidance
- Leadership Development
- Helping youth to lead campaigns for youth rights
- Linking youth with NGOs and social movements
Each YRC creates a generation of youth leaders who can truly work towards a just, humane, and sustainable world.
I don’t know what I would have done without Sakhi. I’ve never been this happy with my friends or family. I only feel comfortable here. I can make most of my decisions and that makes me happy. I’ve learned how to plan things really well.
– Kamakshi, 2017
Baduku Community College
One of the things we are most proud of at Samvada is the established of Baduku Community College, a one-of-its kind education institution dedicated to carving professions for marginalized youth from social needs.
We want to offer disadvantaged youth the opportunity to create dignified and meaningful livelihoods for themselves, and we believe that Baduku is that opportunity. With courses like Responsible Eco Tourism and Waste Management, students can gain knowledge and practice professions that have a direct impact on the unique challenges they face in their geographies.
“Vocations should call us. Professions should be based on what society needs. Disadvantaged youth also deserve meaningful careers, not just those working at petrol bunks, outside changing rooms in malls, and as servers in restaurants.” – Anita Ratnam
1,032 students have graduated from Baduku in the last 12 years, and more than 70% have been placed in employment, or are pursuing higher education in the same field. Our students become journalists, counsellors, and educators; a far cry from most of the occupations available to disadvantaged youth in most ‘vocational skills training programmes’.
Our impact doesn’t just lie in the numbers of students we have reached or the number of programmes we have run. The difference that we have been able to make in individual lives is what gives us hope and courage in our convictions.
Meghana Hiremat, Hospete, Student in 2015 batch of Counseling Course
I learnt a lot of things I didn’t know about through the course. It made me strong. The course didn’t just pass down information, it gave me clarity on my situation. I have the same husband and the same children after the course but the way I view my situation has changed.
Society gives us a sense through which we should view things and this course helped remove it.
I’m now the president of the rotary club, which gives me a lot of power, and I have made many changes. Usually, there are not more than 10-15 projects carried out. But I have already carried out 45 projects just under the Innerville banner. One of the major projects was a traffic hazard project with around 400 college students, where we rallied. We went to the Commissioner’s Office and five different colleges.
Before the course, I wouldn’t participate in decisions at home. I didn’t feel like I had the right to make decisions. But doing the course and with the help of Sakhi I have been able to involve myself more.
Padma – 2017 batch, Counseling Course:
During the course, I found the space to open up and speak about what was going on inside my head. I had a lot of fun during the course and was able to relax. Once I went back home, I realised that women forget we have the power to make decisions after marriage and childbirth, but it is extremely important for women to do a course like this and realise everything we have trapped inside us.
Suhel, 2017 batch
When I had just joined the wellness and justice course I was very caught up in my beliefs. I thought I should only spend time with Muslims and that girls should behave in a certain way.
During the course, I started mingling with other students. My Kannada has also improved and my confidence level has increased. My fear of caste and casteism went away during the course. I also feel freer talking to people about their emotions.
I gained an understanding and awareness of caste and religion issues. I began to respect women and the situations they face. When my sister told me about how she is attracted to my best friend, I didn’t find anything wrong with it. She was just being honest.
Every December, about 100 budding youth leaders from 8 different locations come together to decide on ONE youth right that they will campaign for in the month of January.
What follows is an intense experience for all involved. Young people from different geographies come together in a creative maelstrom, conducting research, creating slogans, writing songs, and developing skits and messages that can be spread through social media.
The campaign is then launched through press conferences, events in colleges, street corners, bus stops, hostels, markets…anywhere they can find an interested audience.
The whole process of planning and leading a campaign, holding a mike, speaking in public, inspiring other young people is a milestone in the lives of our young leaders and changes the lives of those whom they address.
For the first time in their lives, a young student in a college hears the term “youth rights”, sees a group of young people speak passionately about injustices and youth responsibilities. It is a moment of transformation for the speaker and the audience. Both are empowered and everyone is touched.
Hold On! College First, Marriage Next! 2016
What Next? Just Guide, Don’t Decide! 2017
Move On! 2018
These three campaigns together involved 296 youth leaders who led 327 different events and reached 6,927 young people.