In 1999, August 12 was designated as ‘World Youth Day’ by the United Nations to raise awareness regarding the cultural and legal issues concerning the youth. Consequently, it has been celebrated every year, with a different theme.
This year’s theme is ‘Engagement of Youth for Global Action’ which seeks to highlight how the engagement of young people at local, national, and global levels is impacting multilateral institutions and processes.
While the young age is a time of confusion and uncertainty, here are 10 instances where India’s youth surprised and inspired us with their achievements:
Sharanya RK (24)
Sharanya is the youngest junior doctor who treated the victims of the Kozhikode plane crash. After working for one year at the Kozhikode General Hospital, she quit to start preparing for her NEET exams. On that fateful night, when the hospital needed all hands on deck, she jumped in to help without a second thought.
K Manisha (22)
Apart from being a lecturer at the Nandha College of Nursing in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district, Manisha runs an NGO called Jeevitham Foundation. In the past year-and-a-half she has tirelessly rescued and rehabilitated nearly 150 beggars, drug addicts, destitute, and those afflicted with terrible diseases.
Neeraj Murmu (22)
Neeraj is a former child labourer who worked in dangerous mica mines till 2011. Seven years after he was rescued, he set up a local school for children in his village. In the last two years, his school named ‘Kailash Satyarthi’ has educated over 200 impoverished children and rescued 20 child labourers from the hazardous occupation of mica mining.
Haimanti Sen (23)
The 22-year-old, who is the founder of the NGO Junoon, can be found at Mumbai’s Kandivali station skywalk, teaching the alphabet, numbers, words, communication, and art and craft to over 15 kids, free of cost!
These kids are the children of the beggars who live in a slum in the vicinity. Since May 2018, Haimanti has been on a mission to equip them with the necessary skills that will enable her to enroll them in a regular school under the Right to Education act.
Parikul Bharadwaj (13)
Being the youngest social worker in the country, this teen has been working along with her doctor’s parents in the high altitude Kedarnath region, tending to pilgrims and tourists, and providing them with medical attention. She also won the National Bravery Award for saving the lives of the two pilgrims.
Bhargsetu Sharma (22)
When she was 20 years old, Bhargsetu swam for 12 minutes underwater and performed CPR for 21 minutes, to save a young man who was drowning in the MahiSagar river. She won several awards at the state level for her bravery and is the recipient of the prestigious Raksha Mantri Padak 2019.
Bhargsetu is also the founder of Humans with Humanity, an animal rescue, and welfare community through which she has rescued more than 3800 animals.
A student of MES College in the Cherupulassery town of Palakkad district, Shahinsha belongs to an agrarian family from the Panamanna village. This young man nurses a deep passion for farming and finds the time to grow crops, while also regularly attending college.
Sriya Donepudi (15)
This student from Oakridge School, Khajaguda, started an initiative, as part of a school project, to recycle used flowers after social functions. She collected the discarded flowers from events and with the help of women from economically weak backgrounds, they made soaps, paper-weights, potpourri, and other items from the floral waste.
According to an article by The New Indian Express, this initiative earned her The Diana Award, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Sucheta Satish (13)
When she was 12 years old, this Indian girl in Dubai created twin world records for singing in 102 languages during one concert, and for performing in the longest live singing concert. According to a News18 report, she recently won the 100 Global Child Prodigy Award.
Malhar Kalambe (21)
In 2017, Malhar and his friends marched up to Mumbai’s Dadar beach to collect the garbage thrown by the visitors. What started as a weekend activity gradually turned into a full-fledged cleanup movement engaging over 20,000 Mumbaikars. Close to 1000 tonnes of waste like plastic, stale food, and religious offerings were cleared from the beach.
Seeing his efforts, the United Nations felicitated him on the International Volunteer Day (December 5, 2018).
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)