(blog post by Deeba Murugesh)
I should have written this blog right after the meeting the girls in December 2012. We all need a task master and mine, though a gentle one nudged me to write this blog now.
While I was in India last year, Usha was there to conduct a training session for college students in Coimbatore. This was AIDA’s second training program for empowering students with technical and leadership skills and instilling social awareness. She asked me if I could stop by and meet the trainees for a Q&A session. I said yes but wasn’t sure what to expect. This was a week long session and I meet the class one afternoon for a few hours. The girls were teamed up and busy working on their presentations. The meeting was quite informal, after Usha introduced me and started of a with a question, the girls opened up and asked me several questions mainly about working oversees and managing career and home life.
I had the opportunity to meet them again on the last day of the training session as AIDA had invited me to be one of the judges on their final presentation. They designed, built and hosted a website about their chosen social cause. All the presentations were really well researched and quite professional for a week long effort by novices. It was an impressive experience and I could see the social awakening that AIDA and the program had on these girls.
Later AIDA asked me if I could meet with a couple of representatives from the training sessions that they had conducted in the last 2 years. These girls would later serve as the liaisons for the entire batch. The goal was to get the girls to come up with ideas for a youth service day project during the inauguration of AIDA.
I was not in a great state of mind the whole time I was in India. When the opportunity to meet some of the trainees again presented itself, I jumped at it. The interaction I had with them earlier left me with the feeling of hope, so maybe I needed another dose of that. Off I went and little did I know how excited and energetic I would be after meeting them for a lunch discussion.
I was preparing notes and talking to myself on how to talk to the girls. I was a little anxious on getting them to focus on the task ahead. I talked to them briefly – highlighting the significance of not waiting to things to be right, but take things in our hands and make a difference. Then I opened it up for discussion. The ideas started flowing nonstop. The entire duration of the lunch meeting was reverberating with palpable excitement. The most shy/quiet person around the table was contributing with as much enthusiasm as the more talkative/proactive ones. The girls were thinking about the community and were sharing ideas about involving their friends and family member for the service projects.
The energy was felt by all in and even away from our table. There was another big group of young kids who were there to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Our table had several curious glances from them as we were discussing animatedly about the ideas.
At the end of day, all I could think about was these girls in spite of not being in the best of the circumstances or opportunities are brimming with ideas and energy and are ready to be part of the change in the community that they live in. If only we can get energy going in the youth across all strata of the society, India will never be the same. All we need to do is look inside and get the changes going.
I still have hope in Young India!
(This blog post written by Deeba Murugesh, who spoke to participants at Development Academy 2012 held at NGP College of Arts & Science, Coimbatore, India.)