By: Nadashree M.K.
Started as a small youth collective, today Svadhyaya is an organisation with more than 100 individuals. As a youth organisation, we were able to grow together during the last two years through various discussions, internal training sessions and external training sessions. This year too was no different.
Since 2020, it’s been challenging for all due to the pandemic. 2021 began by welcoming Svadhyaya new volunteers to be part of the initiative. The same month, we held a movie discussion on “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret”. The discussion was an enthusiastic platform for all volunteers to share their personal journey towards sustainability and different perspectives on the theme with which the movie deals. Even in tough times, it is wonderful to see members coming together and interacting with each other. While spending our time seeing each other mostly through 5 or 13 inch screens, a fun-filled Happy Hour session helped in team building and bonding with the members proving the strength and compassion of the fellow volunteers.
On the 22nd of April, Svadhyaya celebrated Earth Day and launched the much-lauded Project Planet Heroes. The Project is a three months long peer mentorship programme that helps in adopting a sustainable lifestyle. 13-year-old Ridhima Pandey, famous young Indian climate activist who is referred to as India’s Greta Thunberg, joined the meet as the guest speaker. The session gave insights on Ridhima’s climate activism and the role of Indian youth in climate activism.
A mental health initiative was organised with Tanya Chadha, the founder of A Safe Space. The pandemic and lockdown undeniably affected each and every one of us. The attendees used the platform to share their worries and clear their thoughts on mental health during this global health crisis. For those who were unable to get mental health support, the Talk Show with Tanya was truly a pillar of support. Another movie discussion was organised on the documentary Seaspiracy on 30th May. The documentary that sheds light on the adverse impact of the commercial fishing industry on the planet and humans was a perfect event for many brilliant minds to share their ideas on the future.
Beyond the rainbow colour flag and glittering parade, the struggle for the community is still real. As an organisation that also stands for the people, it’s important to celebrate June, the pride month. An online panel discussion “Coming Out” was held on 20th June to commemorate Pride month and to understand the struggles facing by the LGBTQI+ community in our country. A community discussion with Parth Bhasin-a zero waste climate change activist on climate change and animal rights was organised on 18th July.
Apart from panel discussions and community engagement sessions, Svadhyaya organized various training sessions to enhance the skills of Young Leaders. The first internal training session, “How to improve your research skills – tips and tricks.” was led by Dr. Priyanka Pali. The session which focused on providing the information to the reader, use of research aid software, structure for a good write up and references greatly benefited in enhancing the works of the Research and Development Department of Svadhyaya.
Today workspaces promise that they are “inclusive” and “promote diversity” in their workforces. But the question of their inclusivity and diversity often arises. As an affirmative youth organisation, it is necessary to know and acknowledge diversity and inclusion in the workspace. This year’s external training session on Privilege, Diversity and Inclusion was steered by Ritesh Rajani- Co-founder of Diversity Dialogues; and Inclusivity and diversity coach. The session helped the individuals of the organisation in embracing inclusivity and diversity in their workspace.
Even during the difficult times, divided by distance, Svadhyaya’s active engagement through various initiatives helped people to come together to share their ideas and experiences. Being a young organisation led by youth, we are growing. For the planet and its people. Bolder. Better!