Friday, 30 November, 2007

Chai and Change: A Day in Kaivalya

31 October 2007
Lajpat Nagar

How much ever I had read up about Hijras, Kothis – the transgender community at large - I was apprehensive about meeting and interacting with them on a one on one basis. Reading up was nothing but theoretical knowledge about them, their lives, but understanding the problems they face from a secondary source was a different thing entirely, in contrast to actually sitting with a kinnar over a cup of tea and discussing these matters.

We reached Milan - an organization in Lajpat Nagar that works with the kinnar community largely by educating them (kinnars that is, who are sex-workers) on having safe and protected sex through counseling amongst other approaches. Wednesday was a day when they all came to Milan, to have fun, sing, dance, discuss, confide, talk and get counseling.

Somehow when I entered the room it didn’t feel that weird. They looked different but otherwise it appeared like any other get together of friends who were sitting relaxed, smiling. I guess it was their warmth which made me feel the least bit awkward. Sneha, our Project Head, introduced me to Pinaki, a kinnar. I don’t know who exactly she was in Milan and she appeared quite busy, nevertheless what I really liked about her was her gentle and polite manner of speaking.

We basically spoke to Rajesh (Rajeshwari), Pankaj and another young boy who was in class 11th. They were guys who identified and comfortably acknowledged that they were gay. Above everything it was fun to talk especially with Pankaj who spoke unbelievably fast. He was a student of pharmacy and I must say one of the very lucky people to have an extremely supportive groupd of both family and friends. They spoke very freely about how some people in college knew about his true identity and how he maintained a dual identity in college and otherwise. In fact, their openness and warmth came across as a pleasant surprise because I wasn’t entirely sure if they would be so free in sharing their problems with us, how unfair laws were, the teasing and harassment that they encounter from other boys in the streets.

Something suddenly struck me when I saw one of them file their nails and I noticed their perfectly lined eyes and how they had threaded their eyebrows, was how much they fit the conventional tag of a ‘woman’. I was dressed like a jhalli - messed short hair, a shirt and jeans and I felt, I don’t know, alienated? That somehow, we (sexually and gender wise identified females) were moving away from the woman that they were portraying. (Not that I’m upset about it, but just a thought.)

It was friendly conversation and by the end of it I realized that I actually liked the whole 45 minutes of interaction with them. The ‘tota-ud’ game and their jokes - they were just like any other group of people we meet in our everyday lives - friends gossiping, sharing inside jokes, the same hospitality that I would probably show towards my guests at home.

But I guess on the whole the approach to identify them as ‘different and so stay away’ comes from people’s efforts to ‘normalize’ things in life. Where we reduce and try put everyone under 2 sexes and 2 genders. But there is a whole world that’s different and its fun to be friends and accept people as they are.

- Suchismita

Editor's Note: Kaivalya is The YP Foundation's newest project that engages young people in research projects, community interaction and participation in intervention based programmes to increase sensitivities and communication on understanding transgender identity and issues in India.

Kaivalya's First Event!

This definitely was important, after all the first event of Kaivalya was being held in LSR and the responsibility of making it work was on our shoulders. My first reaction – excitement, soon followed by incredulity with the realization that the Project Head was going to be out of town and finally moved to being amazed at the jolting effect of the two.

Not many things in college can pull me out of my year long stupor –a wonderful aftereffect of 55 minutes of insufferable, incessant noises we are subjected to in classrooms by certain individuals on a daily basis! Preparation begins with full force; all seems to be in order, just one tiny itsy-bitsy harmless question - will there be any audience???

For the first time in my life I hoped that my fate was not shared by anyone in LSR- in short girls do not find themselves staring at posters, getting excited at the prospect of learning about something interesting (for a change) and finally realizing, oh! The event happened last to last to last week! I have to stop sleep walking in the corridors! This called for immediate action - posters (that were visible to the sleep deprived also!), along with spreading the word, polite requests in classrooms and threat filled messages to friends.

I’m sure those who have lived in hostels or pgs’ would agree and understand the phenomenon of food fixation - eat anything and everything edible, anywhere or anytime - the purpose of our lives is to eat! On 21st November at 12:45 pm(lunch break), there was going to be a clash of the titans, the inquisitive mind v/s the growling stomach and I wished dearly that the former would win.

And then it happened, girls started pouring in; one after the other, inquiring if this was The YP event they had heard about. Three grinning faces could be seen answering queries, welcoming girls and as soon as the all the seats were filled, we started the presentation. Introductions- TYPF, Kaivalya, Naz foundation and the guest speakers Pinaki & Muskaan. I felt the atmosphere of the room was a mixture of emotions that have seldom coexisted; there was inquisitiveness, fear, prejudices, maybe even repulsion to some extent but above all there was openness.

I felt that those present in the room were open to learning and sharing, to venturing into territory unknown to them, a willingness to put aside their pre conceived notions and were above all, open to the idea of change within themselves.

I am of the belief that personal touch can change perception on many levels.

The presence of Muskaan and Pinaki had a huge impact on the audience, the confidence with which they carried themselves, undaunted by the crowd, stares or questions, was unparalleled, and yes the realization that they are kinnars. Along with everybody in the room, I was pleasantly surprised at the completely new way in which they presented themselves.

We create stereotypes because it’s too taxing for the brain to understand every individual and we find it easier to group them as the same. At the end of the day, if we keep the image of hijras in our mind as those of people who clap their hands and create nothing but nuisance, won’t it just be easier to understand them?

Isn’t that what we’ve always thought and believed? This event truly took a brave step towards breaking this stereotype.

In some ways I felt they were more assured of their own identity than most of us in that room.

Would we be able to adequately explain if we were ever asked “What are you?” Here were two individuals who knew exactly what their sexuality, origin, history, culture, biological conditioning, social standing, weaknesses and strengths were. It made me think - what do we know about ourselves? At maximum, just about enough to decide whether we want to sleep or eat in the next two hours maybe. The rest is so largely defined by society and we accept those definitions blindly.

To stand in front of 85 women, explaining that they also desire to be female yet have a different identity, takes courage.

Coming back to the session, all kinds of questions were asked, some personal, others general, leading us all towards a clearer picture. Even when the session ended women chose to interact with Pinaki and Muskaan on a more personal level, a voluntary physical proximity I had never experienced before. I felt somewhere there was admiration hidden in everyone’s eyes for them.

We talk about strength of character, how very rare and how very honorable it is in today’s world. If only these were not mere words to adorn character certificates and letters of recommendation, if only we looked deeper into the meaning we would discover Muskaan, Pinaki and many others like them as truly being virtuous. What I gathered from this session was that they do not want sympathy, only acceptance and space to lead a life with dignity.

Finally the bell rings at 2:10pm, time for the official 100 meter sprint in the corridor, and beating the opponent into giving me my well deserved attendance and 55 minutes of back bench sleeping!

- Roshni.

Tuesday, 27 November, 2007

Right Every Wrong Social Justice & Action Conclave

‘Mitigating steps – individual, community, national and international levels: Debating a Domestic Strategy While Driving a Hard Bargain Internationally.’

The title of this conclave is more than slightly demanding in its expectations. ‘Opinions on Climate Change that will open your eyes’ Whilst I am not even close to being an expert on greenhouse gas emissions, the IPCC or the Kyoto protocol, I will talk about my realizations with Climate Change, a little closer to home, focusing on the individual’s role and potential within the domestic strategy that now more than ever needs to be addressed, in a proactive, humane and responsible manner.

I recently read a comment by the former secretary of the Ministry of Environment & Forests that left me worried. The architect of the government’s climate strategy shared a comment, saying: “India is certainly not responsible for the mess. We are, in fact, victims of it. So why expect us to tighten our belts?”

I have worked for the last 6 years with The YP Foundation, formerly known as The Youth Parliament, a space where over 800 young people have come together, to build awareness on negating the validity of that statement.

· Rishab Khanna, is a 20 year old college student who created ‘Accentuating Eco Amity’, a project that engaged young people in understanding the meaning of the eco friendly label, enabling them to evaluate the implementation of the protocols for the eco label, as they are currently used by the hotels and local market retailers in his community.

· Shanta Rana, is a 23 year old who uses online communication to spread awareness on the effects of global warming amongst her peers, with an aim to try and influence a change in their behaviour.

· Simran Brar, is a 28 year old lawyer who started The Right to Information Programme for young people, a unique resource system that is designed to de-jargonize the law for young people, encouraging them to apply it more effectively to their environment.

· Devaki, was the 13 year old Prime Minister of The Children’s Parliament at The Barefoot College in Tilonia I met, who along with her peers, re designed the governance systems that impacted health, water and electricity in her village.

· Saudamini is 19 and Rohanjit is 18. Together, they coordinated a project that trained 15 young people to become peer educators on Child Labour and Child Rights, using workshops as a tool to teach 1000 school students in New Delhi about deforestation, child employment, environmental hazards and what students could do, to make a practical change.

These are only a few of the young visionaries The YP has encouraged. If you actually examine the relationship shared today between most young people and their environment, you will find a chasm. In their identity as citizens, their perception of how they be valid stakeholders and their understanding, of the realities of climate change and its impact on our planet.

And so, with each and every young person that I work with, reversing indifference and apathy is probably the most important thing we have ever done.

As has been more than well established at this conclave, I believe that as individuals, we do very much need to tighten our belts.

As a privileged young person, I have grown up in a country where it is often the urban educated that never seems to be inspired enough to challenge the status quo to become conscious leaders in their communities. Rather, we remain passive reactors and political commentators.

The historicity of emissions is to the crisis of climate change today, both misplaced and irrelevant. It certainly shouldn’t be legitimate argument enough for us to take the moral high ground at a time when we need to work harder than ever to preserve and protect all of that which we value and are so intrinsically inter dependent on. Equally important with the international dialogue, process of commitments and action, is the sharper reality where we need to look closely to the truth in our own homes and our own lives.

Climate change is not a new issue, it’s a multigenerational one. We know that. It’s certainly not something we haven’t heard about or tried to understand whilst growing up. But its part of a more basic attitude we have, as citizens in India, to at times refuse to be touched by a problem unless it travels from outside our homes, past our doorsteps, directly into our lives.

It is then that we choose to take ownership for where we live.

And this is the thinking value system that we are leaving for the next generation. For 70% of India’s population that is currently under 36 years of age.

70% that watches you and notices that the missing political leadership is not all that’s missing, that the lack of citizen caring or understanding is inherently absorbed by most of us with great ease, that there is a non integrated approach towards combating climate change with very little motivation to cross sectors and bridge divides in thinking and approaches.

There is very little I can say here today about the subject itself, that you will not already be acquainted with. But in my mind, the opinion that needs to open all our eyes is the one opinion on climate change that you yourself have. Are you informed? Do you have a connect with why climate change is an issue in the first place? Do you know what you can do? Are you enabling the environment in your home or your community to make these changes?

And if you aren’t, what are you waiting for?

As citizens, we do need to hold the government accountable. But we can also inspire and challenge it. Towards gearing an economy that is obsessed with measuring value beyond just GDP growth and towards helping India adapt to a lifestyle of sustainability. In doing so, we will address critical economic and social opportunities as well.

The oddest thing perhaps is that the simple solutions – better fuel efficiency, insulation, water heating, water harvesting, renewable energy, energy reduction, recycling, waste management – are very much solutions that lie within your grasp. And for once, they have the potential to make a significant amount of the difference needed.

So why does it matter so much whose fault we can call it? Or who we think should pay the price?

Because, in Malini Mehra’s words, ‘The global climate does not distinguish between borders. The greenhouse-gas emissions being pumped into the atmosphere do not come with country flags attached.’

And in the scheme of things, you and I will be directly responsible.

Reminding us that what is at stake here is life itself.
The lives of not just people, but organisms and living beings.

Whose voices we won’t always hear, whose perspectives don’t always get represented; but whose survival depends on the quality of the commitment you make to change your opinions, your attitudes and your way of everyday life.

- Ishita Chaudhry

Saturday, 10 November, 2007

Children for Change!

Please note that entry is free, but is only by RSVP. So if you are planning to join us, do let us know on the number given in the poster. Thank you!

Thursday, 8 November, 2007

Happy Diwali!

Wishing all our volunteers and their loved ones a very safe, happy and healthy Diwali this year!

From all of us here at The YP Foundation.

Thursday, 1 November, 2007

Young People Speak Out at the 4th APCRSHR




As young people attending the 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights, we strongly protest the ban against sex education recently imposed by 12 Indian State Governments.

The ban opposes the training tools used under Adolescent Education Programme developed by the Union Ministry of Education along with NACO and UNICEF.

This ban violates our right to information, right to education, right to health under the Indian Constitution and breaches India's international commitments under UN treaties and declarations.

Young people need comprehensive sexuality education so that they are empowered to make informed decisions relating to their bodies without fear, shame or guilt. Given the right information and skills, young people can negotiate high-risk situations more effectively and reduce their vulnerability to violence, HIV and substance abuse.

Arguments based on culture or morality, such as those made by the Chief Minister of the State of Madhya Pradesh, are invalid and do not justify denying young people the information and skills they need and are entitled to.

Comprehensive sexuality education does not 'corrupt young minds' but that the lack of information leads young people to access false, incomplete and harmful information.

The YP Foundation supports this statement. Please check the following links for more information:

Wednesday, 17 October, 2007

CLAP 2007!

They do not heed to voices saying that they are too young,

They do not point their finger at somebody else,

They do not believe that they are incapable of making a difference,

On 27 October, we invite you to applaud twenty four special young boys and girls.

Date: 27 October
Time: 4:30 pm
Venue: Rang Manch, Bal Bhavan, ITO, Delhi

Meet the likes of Behro Lal Jangid, who assisted a girl escape child marriage in Rajasthan, Kalyani Pal, a St.Paul’s student and an environmental crusader who has influenced her school to conserve energy, Sudhamsu Krishnan who spread awareness about farmer suicides and Radha Sarkar who started an educational project in her school.

See their stories in vivid splashes of theatre, art and colour. Listen to their individual stories, triumphs and challenges. Sing along with Manchale – a group of children and volunteers from Kutumb Foundation.

We believe that together, the difference we make as active citizens is tremendous, and the time to get started is NOW!

Neha Naqvi, 9810280699

CLAP is a collaboration between Pravah, Sanskriti School and the Ford Foundation. It recognizes young people between the ages of 13-17 who have independently led initiatives for a social cause or community benefit. The programme offers an intensive residential training workshop, a cash prize for collective use of Rs. 5,000 and recognition at a public event.

Tuesday, 16 October, 2007

TYPF on UNICEF Website!

UNICEF India's Website recently covered a story on our project. Read about it on:

Sunday, 14 October, 2007

Think Back.

'Magic is first and foremost about wonder. Perhaps there is more to this world, than we can see.."

Today marks the day that the entire process is finally complete. The first part of it anyway... 8 months of struggling. Within those questioning, re framing, changing, re crafting. With fear, with hope, with many many quiet wishes and without question, with a lot of hard work. We called it the organizational visioning process. Something that could carry forth with the new - the old, something that could keep the essence of identity but push those edges of discovery.

Utopian wanderlust. I learned somewhere. of the infringements of your and my reality and the world that lies in between us. The unmistakable clarification that to a certain degree, the old cannot go with the new, that identity is merely something you get to keep with you for that one particular moment and that try as hard as I can, I cannot reconcile 5 years of being The Youth Parliament with this 1 new year, and this new direction, of being The YP Foundation.

We've gained. Yes, we have. Not an identity as much as a purpose. To struggle with the things that are worth struggling with. We've had more arguments about our perspectives and our issues this year rather than our budgets and our project time frames and that makes me, in the midst of my exacting demands, a little satisfied. We're pushed. Never have numbers played such large roles in our lives and my slightly jaundiced eye wanders to note that yes, it hasn't taken our roots away from us, swayed the ground beneath our feet or then shifted our perspectives. But it's made changes, like all things do..

By YP standards, the visioning process, was bold.

Every single step in itself. Every moment of choosing to selectively nurture the wings of certain fragments of potential, certain aspects. With those from across the years, from different times and spaces. Taking all the coordinators for a retreat this time, those 7 days of giving time to not just our work or ourselves, but giving time to the issues. To spend time thinking about the validity of the impact we create. Some days it's clearer, some days it's not. To rediscover the fire in you, to do this. To keep doing this, until you get that last moment of clarity. Of necessity. The joys of being an extremist and an idiot and a dreamer, all rolled into one :)

But I think we know now, why we do what we do.
And I think somewhere last year, it was perspective we were beginning to loose.

Numbers just overtook. in people. in projects. in expenses. in milestones.

Then came the action research plans. The chance to formulate. build stand stone from clay and cement it back to ashes again. We have such stark vulnerabilities sometimes, I wonder if we will be able to work around them well enough. On other days, I wonder if we should at all..

But the singular moment, that brought a closing. a fitting moment, that shared so much in it. The YP Birthday. Something we've all spoken and dreamt about for a year and a half before... what it would be like, the machinations of the mind traversed to a space where the accountant became weaver became speaker became poet became actor became a single note of song became a trapeze artist and eventually, came back to being me again.

I clearly remember walking somewhere, outside that hall. Just looking at the sheer energy and the expanse of the room infront me and the people within it, wondering whether I would ever find enough loopholes to satisfy myself and when I would cross that single moment of self artifice and break the mould.

The visioning process. Yeah.
It helped me. Speak out loud what I've always known.
I've never cared about how it was meant to be done.

Then the strangest of all, the loneliness, the intense drive, the questions, the pushing, the stress.
Like I've suddenly travelled back 5 years in time to start something all over again.
In moments of music, when I can breathe deeply and remember what it feels like.

The music, your freedom, my inner self consicous child, our instinct and sleep.
I think we'll be more than okay.

RTI and Blending Spectrum - Workshop at The Shri Ram School

Photocredits: Tanushree Ghosh, The YP Foundation, 10th October 2007
Project 20: Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour

Friday, 12 October, 2007

प्रोजेक्ट २० अपडेट: चाइल्ड रिघ्ट्स, चाइल्ड लेबर ऎंड चाइल्ड डोमेस्टिक लेबर

“Save their rights & do it right yourself.”

“We want our rights as we DESERVE our CHANCE.”

“Let kids breathe freely as they won’t get their childhood back.”

“Stop Child Labour, it is one of the worst things you could to a child.”

“You send your children to school – don’t you want others to go to school?”

“If there is someone who can help its US.”

Did we ever think that children themselves are perhaps the most powerful catalysts for change within their own age group? That young people are critical in motivating their peers to realize what Child Rights mean, to become pro-active citizens and help young people believe that they have immense strength, to be able to create a difference in their own communities?

Young people living in New Delhi, India believe so. “This project has made me think beyond my own world, it’s made me remember that I am responsible and that I can’t pass that responsibility on to anyone else anymore.” - Saudamini, a 19 year old Peer Facilitator.

The voices of 200 ten and eleven year old students at The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar in New Delhi, India resounded in October 10, 2007. In a project conducted by UNICEF and The YP Foundation, a youth organization promoting young people’s voices by supporting projects currently on Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour; students and staff from The Shri Ram School came together to share young people’s experiences and thoughts on what young people think, and what they can do, to create effective change with the issue of Child Labour.

Involving twenty young Peer Educators from The YP Foundation and UNICEF; over one thousand young people from ten schools across Delhi are participating in a two part workshop series that sensitizes young people between the ages of ten and sixteen to increase their knowledge of Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour. The project aims at highlighting the various stakeholders who play key roles in being able to bring about a change and influencing children’s behavior towards their becoming agents for change in their households and in their communities.

October 10, 2007 was a special day for the young people working in this project. It marks the 1st Anniversary of the Amendments of the Child Rights Act in India and gave children a chance to connect using theatre, music and art to understand how the Rights of the Child apply to their lives. Using the UNICEF cartoon Meena and the medium of open forum theatre; the theatre group Manzil enacted a play that described some of the realities children in Domestic Labour experience. At the height of the tension in the play, they invited students from the school to substitute the actors and in the role play, students explored the different ways in which they could make a positive impact and increase communication.

In an act of solidarity, students came together to create an art wall, a series of posters that expressed their beliefs. Using waste material innovatively, the students used words like ‘love’, ‘respect’, ‘play’, ‘food’ and ‘rights’ to advocate what young people can do. This exhibition will be shared throughout October and November with young people across New Delhi.

“This Diwali, I want to help 4 children in Child Labour instead of burning crackers।” – Nirdhi. Says Ishita, a 22 year old Project Coordinator from The YP: “It’s small realizations like that, that are really encouraging. They also remind you that to enable the rights of all children, the most effective change starts with me.”

Monday, 1 October, 2007

A letter from The American Embassy.

A note from one of our partners!

Projects in 2007!

The Right to Information Programme

Project 20: Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour:

In collaboration with UNICEF, The YP Foundation is training a group of 12 Peer Facilitators to develop and conduct a series of awareness workshops aimed at 10-14 and 15-16 year olds in Schools in New Delhi. These workshops are going to be conducted in two sets per school over the months of September, October and November, culminating in a larger common event for all the students on the 14th of November. There will also be a smaller event on the 10th of October, to bring together realizations and outcomes of the first set of workshops. The project aims at establishing a connect with urban children to develop a sense of belongingness to the community and take responsibility and be active stakeholders thereby being active agents of social change. Exposing young people to different realities, helping them negotiate and engage in a healthy manner with the issue can catalyze this process.

The Facilitative Branch

Project 19: Understanding HIV/AIDS:

Project 19 focuses on a Peer Awareness Model where young people train over a period of 4-6 months to become Peer Facilitators on the issue of HIV/AIDS, focusing on awareness, information, treatment and care as primary areas of concern. The project also includes the development of 12 research case study projects by 12 young people currently in training who are presenting case study projects on the various aspects of Understanding HIV/AIDS and its impact beyond the rhetoric, on people’s lives. Two budding young filmmakers who have produced a 15 minute short film on ‘Sharing the Virus’, enacted, directed, produced and edited by 15 young people. The film touches upon the issues of contraction of HIV, ignorance of the urban educated, rejection faced by some HIV positive persons, their ways of “dealing with it” and the continued spread if HIV.

The Access Programme

VOICES – The School Project – Substance Abuse and Young People:

VOICES focuses on taking issues of urban importance to students, to provide them a comfortable space within which to provide enabling information, for children to make key decisions and strengthen their life skills. VOICES works with a tram of 22 young people, who train as Peer Facilitators to conduct awareness workshops in schools.

VOICES – The Intervention Programme – Peer Pressure Intervention:

The intervention section of VOICES, The Intervention Programme works over a period of time with the faculty and students of a school on issues relating to peer pressure, bullying, interpreting popular media and self esteem. The project is run by a team of 6 Peer Trainers with extensive training on the issue.

Blending Spectrum

Possibilities that empower street children: Blending Spectrum works with three flexible and sustainable models (at the New Delhi Railway Station, Nizamuddin Basti and Sarai Hostel) in collaboration with the NGO Aman Biradiri to facilitate the growth of a child with limited access to opportunities. Working through the mediums of training, field interventions and research, the needs of a community are identified and the corresponding resource providers are located and engaged through an interactive process. The project works through urban young people involved in a peer-to-peer facilitation process with street children with the following aims:

· To bridge the existing gap between the interventions made by communities and the lack of resources/skills that impact their effectiveness.

· Identify potential in children and connect them to schools, learning spaces and opportunities to develop life skills.

· Increase sensitivity and promote a better connect and understanding between the homeless and the urban youth.

Kaivalya – Understanding Transgender and Sexuality

The project works through engaging young people in research projects, community interaction and participating in sensitization based programmes to understand Gender and Sexuality, with the specific aim of providing an interactive platform to increase awareness on transgender issues.

· The Research Branch

· Substance Abuse and Young People – Training Methodologies

· Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour – Training of Trainers Manual

· Understanding HIV/AIDS: Awareness, Care and Treatment – Research Manual

· Kaivalya – Respecting Identity – Research Manual on Transgender


Arts & Music Education and Awareness

Silhouette launches a year long project to create stronger respect for the Arts in Delhi and a better understanding of Music Education. The project includes a workshop series on music, a concert series that promote upcoming genres of music, an Arts Campaign, a Theatre Production and curating The 15 Minute Fringe Festival, a two day festival that celebrates amateur and professional artists from across the city.

TYPF's Stratefic Plan for 2007 - 2009.

An intensive focus in the first half of this year has been an assessment of our due diligence process, our stakeholder analysis and an in depth action research process for all our staff and volunteers, to better understand the issues we are working with. We have focused on:

1. Organizational Visioning: Mission, Vision, Goals (Articulation and Strategies)

2. The YP’s Vision for Working with Young People.

3. Exploring Fundraising Strategies and Project Management Skills.

4. Visioning and Development: Social Outreach/ Impact Analysis.

5. Developing Team Building and Inter Personal Working Ethics.

The organization’s exclusive focus over the next 2 years is committed to building and engaging with the following issues to create stronger, constructive and practical impact.

· The Performing and Visual Arts: Creating stronger platforms to showcase young artistes and developing resources to exchange information and raise awareness on music education and the arts.

· The Law: Stronger engagement with legislative research, increased awareness on laws in India and their application to our daily lives and engaging with the government to create a more public dialogue for young people.

· Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS: Provide easier access to and a stronger understanding of counseling, addiction and intervention for children with regards to Substance Abuse. Increase young people’s access to information on HIV/AIDS and examining care and treatment facilities and policies in India.

· Education and Health Services for Street Children: To bridge the existing gap between the interventions made by communities and the lack of resources/skills that impact their effectiveness. Identify potential in children and connect them to schools, learning spaces and opportunities to develop life skills.

· Life Skills Development & Curriculum: We are working on an alternative curriculum process within the schooling system, to encourage stronger communication between parents, teachers and students. Additionally, we are launching The Workshop Series - A programme series dedicated to working and developing life skills within young people. The series literally gives people a workshop environment where they re-create and analyze issues of pressure, depression, body images and the media, eating disorders and a how to help your friend series.

· Open Forums and Pilot Projects: We will continue to support short term intervention and awareness projects on issues that are pertinent to young people, designed and executed by them.

· Gender and Sexuality: Engaging young people in research projects, community interaction and participating in intervention based programmes to create a stronger understanding Gender and Sexuality, with the specific aim of providing an interactive platform for young people with their families.

Monday, 13 August, 2007

The YP is registered!

In August 2007, The Youth Parliament was legally incorporated as The YP Foundation, a charitable trust that works with the express mandate of being committed to developing innovative ventures by young minds, facilitating leadership skills and thinking power and increasing awareness on issues of global importance amongst young people.

The organization funds and supports innovative work by young people, by providing young people between the ages of 13 and 28 years with a resource base to conceptualize and execute their own projects and initiatives working with socio-cultural, economic, legal and environmental issues they are passionate about.

The YP has supported work in multiple fields through varied mediums such as community initiatives, the performing and visual arts, literary and research projects, interactive workshops, policy and government interaction and research and advocacy work amongst others.

Contact us at

Friday, 20 July, 2007

Thursday, 12 July, 2007

Kyle Tayler: Youth Venture

On July 10 2007 we had a chance to meet Kyle Tayler, from Youth Venture through the Ashoka Foundation. He's doing what most of us have been inspired by many times, have dreamed of many times - mapping change around the world. Just a short email from him, do check out his website!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kyle Taylor <>
Date: Jul 10, 2007 7:11 PM
Subject: Update: In India, South Africa Movie Posted
To: Kyle Taylor <>


After a nice seven days off, including a trip to the bush and the Live
Earth concert in Joburg, I am heading full-steam ahead on the last
month of this incredible adventure. I arrived in Mumbai just in time
for a monsoon and am now in New Delhi visiting some incredible teams
doing work in every field imaginable. I spent the day with the
leaders of an amazing organization called Youth Parliament that is
working to give voice to young people while promoting a safe space to
exchange dialogue. It was very inspiring!

In other news, the South Africa video is done, thanks to some help
from Erin Gordon, a YV intern in South Africa. It is quite good, as I
was finally able to incorporate multiple interviews. You can find
that on the homepage here:

I have also posted tons of pictures from South Africa, including
visits to YV teams, sunrise over the Cape of Good Hope, skydiving,
safari sitings in Kruger Park and a few shots from Live Earth. Look
out for video from Kruger and Live Earth soon! The pictures are all
posted to flickr. Just click on the album you want at the right. The

Finally, a big congrats to my sister Chelsey who graduated Saturday!
I am a very proud brother.

Look out for an "email postcard" later this week. I'm hoping you
won't mind forwarding that on to friends and family as we try to boost
web traffic in the final weeks of the trip.

More soon from the other side of the planet.



Kyle Taylor
Ashoka/Youth Venture

Follow My Adventure!
Click the Dream It Do It Tour Box!

CREA Workshop with TYP on Human Rights, Sexuality and Gender!

A brilliant two day training workshop at The Attic, with all the coordinators of The YP. Conducted by Neha Sood and Vinita from CREA.
Thank you guys! You really made us think and
we all took some seriously valuable inputs from those two days!

Sunday, 8 July, 2007

Yuva Parliament in Chandigarh

Yuva Parliament is a young people's movement that has recently been launched in Chandigarh. As they explore their journey and process of discovery, they are being supported and mentored by The Youth Parliament in New Delhi throughout this process. Later on in August, both organizations will visit each other, to train, share best practices and learn! We congratulate them for conducting their first successful session!

Continuing on the objective of ‘Changing Mindsets’ & ‘Initiating Volunteerism’ amongst the Youth of today, We Volunteer has initiated a concept named Yuva Parliament for the first time in the city.

Yuva Parliament, is a platform for the youth of Chandigarh to come together and Connect - Discuss – Formulate action plans on how the youth can impact the society. The first session was held on 29th June, 2007 at Punjab Kala Bhawan.

The idea behind Yuva Parliament is to bring together the youth from sundry domains and provide them with a common forum where they can share their views and opinions on the most imperative issues in Chandigarh and also formulate methodologies to work collectively to alleviate the problems.

The basic idea lies in letting the participants decide how they can impact the society in their own ways, using their own areas of interest or profession.

So, to create a CHANGE you need not wear a khadi-kurta, carry a jhola & set off to the slums. Society can be impacted in a lot many other ways & that’s what We Volunteer is working on, to redefine what people call “Social Work”!

For the first session, the major umbrella domains were,

  • Performing and Visual arts
  • Creative arts
  • Media
  • Sciences
  • Activism
  • Miscellaneous

85 participants from the above domains were present at the first session. Youth Icons, like Dr. Gaurav Chabbra (spearheading an NGO called Hum Log in Chandigarh and also winner at the WHO short film awards, for his film titled “MudCake”, Mr. Gaurav Gaur, a leading social activist in Chandigarh were present at the session.

The session had an NGO Resource Panel chaired by the heads of various progressive NGOs in Chandigarh. The chair comprised of Col. Bedi (YTTS), Mr. Bhullar(Educare), Mrs Harleen Kohli(CEVA), Mr Ajit Tomar(a leading RTI activist from Burning Brains Society).

The first session started with an open house discussion on the impending issues that are affecting the society today. Issues related to Depression problems in youth, Slum Education, HIV/AIDS, child beggars, and environment formed the crux of the debate.

The second stage of the session comprised of the youth being divided amongst teams based on their areas of interest, that were Performing & Creative Arts, Activism, Health & Sciences & Media. The teams chose their own issues , brainstormed on them, discussed & then formulated Action Plans to find solutions to these issues.

It was really an interesting view to see the youth being so actively involved in the discussion & formulation, being eager to contribute their share.

The last stage was the presentation of the Action Plans formulated by all teams, one by one, to the dignitaries present there as well as the parliament. The parliament was open to suggest any modifications for the plans or to offer any help with the resources the teams would need during the execution of the plans. The projects were critically analyzed by the dignitaries. The dignitaries proposed to provide support and resources for the projects of the youth.

The parliament session was declared closed after a small presentation on Volunteerism 2.0, which is all about redefining how people take the term Social Work.

Not a complete instantaneous impact, but “a Perfect Start” is what we could call it. The work for next session has already begun. Its going to get BIGGER & BETTER each time.


- Preet Arjun

Saturday, 7 July, 2007

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare!

The Black Cow Company, in association with Hindustan Times and The Youth Parliament presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

For further information please contact Adhir Ghosh at or 9818253776.