Tooo many things special about this post! This is the first guest post on my blog. It is from a very special person, who has done what most of us would not have even thought about. And more importantly, the special person is a very dear friend of mine [Say yes :evil:]
So, please welcome Shobhit – a smart 28-yr old, who left his IIT degree, his MS, his job in Seattle, everything behind to start a chapter of Youth For Seva in Hyderabad (it was founded in Bengaluru). Since I write so much about this one platform – I can’t imagine my life without it [and I know Su agrees too!] , I thought it would be nice to have him write about what made him take this decision and what YFS is all about, in his own words 🙂
Long post, but worth reading I would say 🙂 Thanks Shobhit, for giving in to my
tantrums and threats requests and gracing my blog with your presence 😉
In many ways, we are the most comfortable generation born on this planet. The technologies we have engineered have provided us the best in health care, education and transportation, something unimaginable by the previous generation. Just think of the Internet and the Cell Phone and you get the idea. Though we are the most comfortable generation, are we by any means the happiest? Maybe not. After all, we are doing what we are doing to get happier, right? So this should make us think, are we just sweating it out on a treadmill, imagining fancy dreams and yet moving nowhere? Ok, let us just analyze this for a while.
Think of the happiest person you have met in your life, I mean truly happy from within. What were the life choices (s)he made? What was his/her lifestyle? Think some more. Certainly the person you have thought of, chose a lifestyle which was inclusive rather than exclusive. That is a key point we miss. Let me elaborate.
Imagine a school kid driving a bicycle and you see him being hit by a car. Your first reaction is to feel pain for the child. This is natural in every human being. Whether we act on it or not, is the choice, what we feel is natural. We are all interconnected. This concept of oneness has been elaborated in all Eastern traditions since time immemorial. The root cause of our unhappiness is the lack of this inclusive consciousness. We are defying who we naturally are, and we are bound to be unhappy because of that. This is one part of the story, let me talk of the other.
India today is one of the world’s youngest countries. 66% of India today is under the age of 35. Since this age group is the most productive, India must harness this power now. We are fortunate to be born at this very critical moment in the Nation’s history. In many ways the future of the country is in our hands. If we collectively decide to work for its development, we reap the benefits and this time will be etched in the Nation’s history. If we lose this opportunity, this very force alive today, in 20 years time becomes a burden on the country.
So can we bring this force of Youth together, develop a sense of inclusive consciousness, and harness it for National development?
Youth for Seva (YFS), is a platform which uses Seva as a tool for developing inclusive consciousness among the Youth of India. Personal and National development are natural outcomes of the process. It aims to mobilize the several billion youth of the country towards National development by involving them in service projects of their interest and requiring a time commitment which is comfortable to them. ‘Promoting Volunteerism’ and ‘Service as a Movement’ are some of the taglines often associated with YFS. Though still in its early years, it has evolved into a powerful force, which is drawing youth from all sections of the society. Starting from Bangalore in 2007, it has spread to Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bhopal and Mysore, with several thousand volunteers involved overall. YFS acts as bridge between these volunteers and NGOs. Several hundred projects have been adopted by YFS to date. These vary from Education, Health, Environmental to Rural development, Women Empowerment, Helping the Differently-Abled etc.
YFS has opened the door for several youth who always wanted to give back to society, but never knew where to start and what they could do. The movement grows organically, primarily driven by the ideas and of course the energy of its volunteers. The backbone of the movement are volunteers who have dedicated their lives completely to make this a success. These include young college graduates who have decided to dedicate their energies full time to YFS instead of taking up jobs, young professionals who decided to quit their MNC jobs and help in building the Nation and senior professionals who have quit their companies and decided to give their experience and wisdom to shape the movement. What is common in all the volunteers of YFS is that by giving whatever they could, they have evolved into someone more beautiful. Their smiles are infectious and draw more people with them.
YFS is a people’s movement and open to everyone, the question is how willing are we?