Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
The coronavirus pandemic has left the deprived communities in acute distress. As soon as the lockdown was announced lakhs of daily wagers, cab drivers, construction workers, waiters, and others who work in small businesses wished to return to their homes in rural India.
Factories and establishments were shut and construction activities came to a halt. Many of the workers who wished to return to their homes, began their long journeys home on foot after the sudden shutdown brought the nation to a standstill.
Several people were seen walking along the edges of national highways of several states carrying their luggage on their back. Several migrants even died on their way back home.
As the world battles COVID-19, young people are increasingly becoming frontline warriors to support their communities. Youth initiative 'ComMutiny' rests strong in its resolve to nurture resilience and hope among them.
ComMutiny members, in their independent, voluntary capacities have actively led initiatives on food distribution, safety, health and social distancing awareness, and much more, in several parts of the country. They are making efforts to reach the most vulnerable and marginalised during these unprecedented circumstances.
ComMutiny – The Youth Collective is an ecosystem of over 130 youth and adolescent engaging organisations across 20 states, all of whom have come together with a common mission – to create empowering spaces for young people to unleash their leadership potential. The organisation is based in Delhi but works in over 15 states across the country through its members.
In 2007, Pravah and SRTT (Sir Ratan Tata Trust) jointly invited a number of like-minded people from several development organizations and educational institutions to come together to form 'ComMutiny -The Youth Collective' (CYC).
"To create powerful responses to the overwhelming development issues we face today, there is a critical need to build capacities and nurture leadership with breakthrough thinking, a huge heart, and fresh impetus to make the values of liberty, equality, justice and fraternity to come alive on our streets and bring forth young voices in different spaces of our society," Kanika Sinha, CYC's convener, tells The Logical Indian.
"The agenda is too complex to accomplish for a handful of good leaders. It will need shared leadership at an unprecedented scale across the world and in each country," she adds.
CYC is a national collective of over 50 youth-led and youth engaging organisations and youth development practitioners who work directly with adolescents and young people. Additionally, ComMutiny has also incubated seven state-level collectives (Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) and the ecosystem is now 100 organisations strong.
In responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the collective stands united in its efforts to:
• Build capacities of youth workers in its network to be able to respond to the COVID-19 crisis on matters of food security, health, safety, adolescent and youth engagement, polarisation and identity conflict
• Foreground well-being as a key programming imperative
• Collectivize a network of social entrepreneurs, leveraging their strength and efforts to nurture resilient communities
• Shift the narrative from despair to hope and love through on-ground and online initiatives
• Nurture young people as first respondents to the COVID -19 crisis in their families through the Jagrik COVID Challenge, by undertaking social action tasks, such as:
- Making masks at home for family members and their immediate community
- Use art as a medium to express their feelings and promote well-being
- Convert digital awareness material into wall posters that may be put up outside their homes
ComMutiny stands for the first 'mutiny' within a young person, symbolic of the fact that social and systemic transformation cannot happen without personal transformation. The collective works to create 5th spaces that nurture social inclusion, holistic development and foster social hope by promoting feelings of freedom, ownership, love and learning and growth.
The following are some of the organizations under ComMutiny, and their efforts:
'Sarthak Fellowship' by Agrini, People for Change, Bharat Calling, ANSH Happiness Society, Synergy Sansthan
Sarthak Fellowship is supporting 30 individuals working in 7 states of India for COVID-19 relief work in livelihood, health, education, media and environment domain.
Prantakatha youth in Bengal are reaching out to a cross-section of excluded groups. They have been able to collectively feed 5000+ families across 4 districts surrounding Kolkata and counting.
Farm2Food Foundation, Assam
#DailyCupofTea, Tea garden workers have not been able to earn any income for the past 3 months. Farm2Food Foundation has reached out to 2500 extremely vulnerable families (still only 0.2% of the total vulnerable population) with 2200 Quintals of dry ration and vegetables.
InSIDE-North East under its COVID-19 emergency relief service in collaboration with the district administration and different partner organisation is providing food and hygienic items to more than 300 most vulnerable people in Manipur and more than 5000 Manipuri migrant workers in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai at the moment.
Can Youth, Nagaland
Can Youth has reached out for dry ration relief to more than 500 migrant workers, widows and people living under extremely challenging circumstances while generating pictorial awareness on COVID-19 in Dimapur, Nagaland.
Pravah's focus has been on getting young people and communities to respond proactively, responsibly and empathetically during COVID times. Our volunteers & social entrepreneurs are leading on-ground relief work & we have organized webinars with more than 400+ youth & adolescents on the thematic of well-being and fake news.
Team "Agrini" is providing Ration and other essentials for daily wage-earning families in Seoni district and arranging food water for migrant labourers crossing the MP-MH border in NH44.
Yeh Ek Soch Foundation, Lucknow
Yeh Ek Soch Foundation is providing immediate relief by delivering dry ration, vegetables, sanitary napkins, soaps, masks to communities in Lucknow, Sitapur U.P. So far, they have supported 1508 families with relief kits & distributed 1328 packets of sanitary napkins and provided snacks & water to 900 migrants. They aim to reach 2000 families enlisted with them as soon as possible.
The Blue Ribbon Movement, Mumbai
The Blue Ribbon Movement is hosting #onlinelisteningspaces to share, reflect as preventive to rising mental health issues. It has had over 200 participants from different parts of the country joining. The space enables participants to express their emotions and feel supported through these times.
In responses to COVID in Had-Anhad students are taking charge of their rights by taking necessary action for their basic needs. Volunteers learn to empathize and practice compassion with the students by engaging them in weekly tasks.
Rubaroo has been taking action by raising awareness about mental health and communal harmony through youth volunteers and raising funds for people in need. Through various social action, projects have reached out to more than 5000 people.
Diksha Foundation, Patna
In collaboration with Patna Municipal Corporation and United Nations Population Fund, Diksha is doing COVID-19 relief work. We have trained 3941 Sanitation workers, offered to counsel to 2009 vulnerable citizens and provided referral services to 87 people.
People for change, Jamshedpur
People for change has distributed ration to more than 2000 families in East & West Singhbhum Jharkhand. Migrant shelters in two places in Jharkhand catering to 700 + migrants daily. Weekly ration and cash transfers to 200 transgenders in Jamshedpur.
CYC members have collectively reached over 11,000 families, and the goal is to reach 20,000
"We express deep gratitude to our members, partners and supporters for their belief in young people as we navigate self and social challenges towards creating a strengthened and meaningful evolution of humanity in these difficult and uncertain times," Kanika says.
Let's make 'Every youth a Jagrik (Jagruk - Nagrik: An awakened & aware citizen) & Every space nurturing a Jagrik' a norm," she adds.
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