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Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it

This year’s wedding season has been action-packed with many people opting for Sustainable Practices in their wedding ceremonies. One such ceremony was of our very own Young India Challenge Alumna Swati Khurana. Being a teacher and a Teach For India fellow herself, Swati attended the 8th Young India Challenge at IIT Delhi in 2017. Since then it’s been no looking back for her when it comes to spreading the message of Sustainable Development and Sustainable Living.

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Swati and her team at the 8th Young India Challenge in 2017

Swati embarked on a new journey in her life as she got married in October this year and her wedding was a perfect example of being the trailblazer and leading the charge of sustainable practices. The Mehendi Ceremony was organised in a way that it also educated the guests on how they can adopt practices that do not harm mother earth.

 

They started off with something as simple as going with paperless invitations and sending out E-Invitations to all the guests. The next step was to use biodegradable cutlery for food, steel glasses for serving water and non-plastic chairs for seating.

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At these ceremonies, we usually see that a lot of food goes to waste. But for her Mehendi ceremony, she chose to have a limited menu and all the leftover food was packed and distributed to avoid any food wastage. 

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Swati (center) with her students who prepared posters to spread awareness of climate change, food wastage etc.

All the decorations were re-usable and guests were gifted with planters. Some of her students also prepared posters to spread awareness among the guests about issues like climate change, food wastage etc.

 

Swati said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

She believes in taking small steps to spread a message of sustainability by actions and to show empathy towards mother Earth. 

Apply now for the 11th Young India Challenge, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

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Announcement: Application for the 11th Young India Challenge is Now Open!

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Do you want to follow your passion and make a career around it? Applications are now open for the 11th Young India Challenge (YIC) at Bhubaneswar (Odisha), on 22-23 February 2020.

YIC is created and organised by Human Circle – a social enterprise dedicated to inspire, enable and connect young people to follow their passion and to contribute towards sustainable development goals.

Click here to apply for YIC 2020 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 

Steve Jobs (Co-founder, Apple Inc) once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Young India Challenge (YIC) is a two-day invite only national level event for 300+ participants from 50+ cities across India, selected from approximately 3000 applications. To help participants solve the challenge we invite 40+ Mentors and Speakers

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Day 1 of YIC has lots of inspiring speaker sessions. There is a workshop to hack your brain to turn your passion into a career. On Day 2, the delegates are given the challenge and they work in a team of ten people to solve the challenge. These are real global and national challenges related to 2 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, and Goal 13: Climate Action. The event finishes with an award function and certificate distribution.

Previous Partners/Mentors/Speakers from:KPMG, GE, Boston Consulting Group, NDTV, Startup Weekend Powered by Google, Hindustan Unilever, The Global Shapers Community (born out of the World Economic Forum), World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-India), The Climate Reality Project India (Founded by Ex US Vice President Al Gore), Center for Responsible Business, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Techstars, LoveDoctor, SHEROES, Ashoka Youth Venture, Global Action on Poverty, AIESEC, Talerang, BitGiving, Cornitos, SaveLife Foundation, Sarvam Foundation, CoWorkIn, I Impact India, DU Beat, SRCC, IIT Delhi and many more.

Young India Challenge (Bhubaneswar) – 22nd and 23rd February 2020

Click here to apply for YIC 2020 in Bhubaneswar

Watch Videos of Previous YICs in Delhi and Mumbai

Limited spots available!

Prize for the winning teams: winning teams will be awarded with a seed funding of INR 1,00,000 each to execute the solutions for the challenge, along with a 6-month mentorship program.

  • A certificate of excellence will be provided to you as a delegate for Young India Challenge 2020, recognising you amongst the top youth across many cities and universities in India.The #DoWhatYouLove movement has spread across the country and we are looking to organise an amazing conference & a ‘YIC Awards Function’ to make it even bigger.

You could help your friends by letting them know about this opportunity!

Any student, recent graduate, young professional or entrepreneur from any city can apply. YIC is a Human Circle creation for young people to explore and follow their passion with amazing students, entrepreneurs, social change makers, artists, authors and business people. This is the best place to be if you want to create a life by your choice and not what the world tells you.

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Check out the agenda, speakers, partners and all that happened during the first 10 YICs here www.youngindiachallenge.com

  • Check out the videos of what happened at Young India Challenge at IIT Delhi, SRCC here
  • Check out all the YIC updates here

Are you ready to experience two of the most exciting days of your life?! 🙂

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Contentment received by working in the social sector is unmatchable

 

Tushar Singh Bodwal

In the formative years of my career, I have actively engaged with Social Entrepreneurial ventures and NGOs. There is something pristine about working in the social sector; contentment received by success in this arena is unmatched and learning outcomes from failures motivate you to outperform yourself in the future. I’ve had an extensive outlook of this field while working in the head team of multiple organizations.

Inclination to make a career in the social sector came when I went to rural Rajasthan for an internship in the second year of my college (2015). This opportunity was to work under the guidance of first female MBA Sarpanch of India, Ms. Chhavi Rajawat, on diverse issues like governance, sanitation, financial literacy, gender sensitization, education, menstruation, and farming. It made me realize my privilege of having better access to education, healthcare, and social infrastructure. Back then, I used to remarkably undermine my work and efforts, as I couldn’t see the change that we had aimed for, after the completion of my tenure. This notion changed when I received a call 4 months later, after returning back to Delhi from the village. 

The caller was my student, Vishnu, belonging to a lower caste family situated in a hamlet which had unequal access to water and subjected to different forms of discrimination in daily social discourse. His call on 5th September to wish me ‘happy teacher’s day, sir’ gave me more contentment than any contribution I had made in other arenas. It made me realize that we need to cherish each low hanging fruit that we get rid of while working on the long road to sustainably, equitably and inclusively bringing distributive measures in the society. 

Currently, I’ve been working with Centre for Logical Research and Development Studies, an NGO on a panel with several Ministries and Departments of Government of India and various State Governments. During my fieldwork for the National Level Monitoring program of Gram Panchayat Development Plan in eastern Uttar Pradesh, I went to a flood-prone district, Bahraich. I interacted with more than 650 individuals belonging to the District Administration, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Self Help Groups and Village Organizations. The district was tackling challenges centering around healthcare, inter-block connectivity for villagers and meeting the target of Swachh Bharat Mission in the prescribed time. Disaster proneness and challenging terrain is a nightmare for policy implementing agencies. 

In the backdrop of this, an interactive monitoring session left an indelible impression on my mind. The people of Mustafabad Village, along with PRI and District officials, set aside all the inhibitions and actively engaged in participatory self-governance. In a campaign meant for promoting evidence-based and truly inclusive development plans, this village set a benchmark for others on how to formulate and execute their vision in an effective, efficient and responsive manner. Amongst many teachings during my fieldwork, this experience remains peculiarly close to me.

These interactions made me realize that there are several low hanging fruits that we can easily get rid of by promoting youth mobilization. Grassroots level research and promotion of best practices can equip socially suppressed, economically exploited and politically passive communities in ensuring sustainable lifestyles for themselves. Hence, empowering them in the truest sense.

Tushar Singh Bodwal
Delegate, YIC IIT Delhi 2019

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Story of a failing student to framer of an education based NGO

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I was born in a middle class family in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka. Its neither a big city nor a rural place. My high school days; when I look back here, the unpleasant memories dominate over the pleasant ones. Yes, I used to get bright red underline(which means fail) in most of the subjects. 
I used to get insulting words from all the teachers about my performance in  academics. This added to build up shy nature and negative thoughts within me and I was convinced that I was good for nothing. This made me feel more inferior about myself. But luckily I cleared my 10th exams. It enlightened some hope in me! Later I joined PU College in my hometown. Here I faced one of the biggest struggle of my life,that was to pass all the subjects! One day I could not write very simple formula on the board, this made me to cry like a baby in front of all my classmates .Again luck was on my side, I passed my PU.  I joined for B.Sc and a different yet a happy phase of my life began. My teacher and my mentor, A P Radha Krishna sir is the only reason for bringing this change! He helped me to find the real me! He made me to prepare science models.  Finally, I completed B.Sc with 87%. Apart from that, I learnt many things from my friends and lecturers. Overall that brought a big change in my life. Later I did my M.sc in physics, now in the last stage of PhD in Physics. 

I am telling all these because, A teacher can create wonders, similarly teachers can ruin student’s life. My teachers changed my life. And of course, as a teacher, I am trying to make my students overcome from their academic and the skills related problems. Also, I believe there is nothing to do with marks, all matter is how skillful you are! How many loyal people are with you in your life? How innovative you are? How you socialize? These are the things that that matter ultimately. 

Do not judge any student or kid by their academic performance.  In this world many wonders and innovations are achieved solely by the Skill based Knowledge. I think each and every kid has their own talent; one should identify and nurture it. I believe that we, teachers have a very important role to play.
And This is the only and main reason to start Akanksha Charitable Trust in 2012. Through this, now my team of 125+ youths are inspiring and educating young minds in rural parts of Karnataka. As of now we have reached 15000+ students. Being a lecturer in Degree College, I inspire my students to work for SDGs by starting youth forum in the same college. I am the managing director of My Medhas. Here we teach students through experiments along with basics. Also, we concentrate on their skill development.

I believe value added education can bring tremendous changes in the society and I work towards bringing this change. If I can win over the bad, anyone can!

Shreesha Bhat
Delegate, YIC IIT Delhi 2019

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I am raising my voice to raise my community; I am aspired to inspire millions

Gitika Bhatia

“An unstoppable force of nature for she is infinitely wired to evolve into all things beautiful, built to conquer, achieve and sustain”

I am driven towards my mission to plant 1Bn trees and join 1Mn people in my mission, by 2025. I pride myself on being empowered, independent and detached woman which has been my learning from my journey so far.

My family business is 30yr old in Garment Manufacturing, which is known to be the 2nd most polluted industry in the world. I was motivated to change that when I along with my last corporate did research to manufacture clothes with less water, lower amount of carbon footprint and longer life. Technologies exist, we were not just aware of it. So we dug in and started prototyping fabric out from plant waste of Rose, Banana and Pineapple plants. We also worked around making variants of textiles from Recycled Plastics. Last year, I brought my knowledge and applied in my family’s business to shape it sustainably. This year, I went ahead to integrate technology and community with it by kick starting my marketplace idea which was long due, Grinfluent.

Technically, Grinfluent shall be a marketplace to learn, track and share your environmental impact through gamification & incentivization. Principally, Grinfluent will be the sense of direction to act and sense of motivation to incentivize you to act for the environment.

5th Element Group, a global impact accelerator validated my act while honoring me with Silver Coin of Honorable RaniLakshmiBai. Grinfluent and my passion were also appreciated when I was invited to a funded Silicon Valley, California trip for a simulation program where I pitched Environment Tech idea to Google and won.

I am raising my voice to raise my community; I am aspired to inspire millions.

Gitika Bhatia
Delegate, YIC IIT Delhi 2019

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Learning to empathize

Avish Vijay

I am Avish Vijaivergiya. I am a User Experience Designer and in the meantime, I just look at things as I love to compare and bitch about them. Things like water taps, doors, dustbins and what not.

Have you ever done this exercise, when someone special is coming to your house, you try to imagine all the scenarios possible, try to understand their needs, you tidy up the place a little, looking into those minor details?

Well, it’s simple, you have just put things in a meaningful order so that your guest feels
good. You have just designed a usable experience. That’s what I try as well, So the
question is, how do I it, or rather why do I do this? Why is it needed?

To answer that question, I would like to roll back the time a little. I was a very very shy kid who cannot talk more than a sentence. Adding to the mess, I was a single child as well. I used to have this strange thought that was a byproduct of this low self-esteem “I as a person don’t matter, its the person for whom I am doing this work for which matters a lot”. All these years I always felt that my views, my feelings, my thoughts don’t matter to anyone.

Among all this, I had a hard family time as well which suppressed me even further. Don’t worry I won’t go into sentimental details. This thing, which back then had many negative impacts, had empowered me with one amazing thing which I cherish forever i.e Empathy.

My experience with subsequent ordeal has offered me high self-monitoring, hyper-vigilance and a predisposition to and taking on a lot of emotional work.

With my background, I find this difficult to turn off. Whenever I’m around people or things, I’m gathering information, I’m studying behaviors, I’m noticing usability. I struggle to avoid being the vessel. I have to make a conscious effort to stop. But stopping feels unsafe.

This makes me more of a designer.

And now things have started falling into place, from graduating as a civil engineer from IIT Roorkee to taking a leap of faith in design and deciding to follow my passion to give this world better usability, a better experience.

Avish Vijaivergiya
Delegate, YIC IIT Delhi 2019

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Press Release: The 10th Edition of Young India Challenge 2019 at IIT Delhi

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The 10th Young India Challenge (YIC) was organised by Human Circle on 12th and 13th October at IIT Delhi. The event was focussed on #DoWhatYouLove with a theme of  ‘Sustainable Living’. Approximately 500 students, young professionals and entrepreneurs from more than 75 cities participated at YIC to find solutions for the challenges we face in India regarding. People worked in teams to work on UN Sustainable Development Goals 12 and 13, that is, Responsible Consumption & Production and Climate Action respectively.

The first day started of with some icebreaker games with the delegates and a ‘Welcome to the #DoWhatYouLove Movement’ keynote address by Kamal Seth (Founder & Chief Happiness Officer and Co-creator, YIC) with a thumping introduction and set the already pumped up energy even higher!! 400 jovial faces from all regions of India were greeted with some of the historic YIC rituals, like the ‘Collectective Ovation’. A tribute to the nation with a vitalizing Vande Mataram slowly compounded the high spirits with a constructive seriousness of the cause of Sustainable Living. The delegates raised their Reusable Bamboo Mugs, pledged to be a #SustainabilityWarrior and to fight the climate crisis faced by our nation and the world at large. Kamal also asked the young mins a promise to use their reusable mugs to the point it gets withered. 

 

 

Wioleta (Co-founder, Human Circle & Co-creator, Young India Challenge) really shifted gears to the ‘How to do it’ part of the Movement with the anatomy of the brain pictorial and with her fun exercise ritual. She enabled everyone to connect with themselves as well as with their neighbors. The session proceeded as a sharing session where the participants learnt how to keep keep good mental health. The afternoon of the first day saw speaker sessions by Nida Hasan, Country Head of Change.org, India and Anshul Tewari Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Youth Ki Awaaz. These sessions found some really interesting questions from the curious minds in the audience and it can safely be said that the speakers loved by the participants for their courage and passion. There was also an engaging dialogue on #YouthforSustainability. It covered various areas like excess consumerism, role of media, political and social outreach for climate action, emergency of the sustainability issues in India, and a lot more. The panelists  also deliberated upon how to make sustainable supply chains more mainstream in India, like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO – a standard for sustainability) backed certified sustainable palm oil. Seated on the panel were the Founder of Human Circle and india Representative, RSPO, Kamal Seth, Prashant Jha, Hindi Editor of Youth Ki Awaaz, Namrata Kilpady, Campaign Manager, Change.org, Devik Sodha, President of AIESEC India, and Saneesh Cherian, Head of Business Management, The Logical Indian. The eminent panelists engaged in a dialogue about how sustainability issues are tackled by these coveted digital media organizations, MNCs and governments. One of the outcomes of the discussion was to develop a consensus for #YouthforSustainability and a collaboration amongst like minded organizations to reach millions of people in India for the same.

 

After the immersive panel discussion, the Happiness Team entered with flags of the teams and gathered them up to set them in a brainstorm mode. This was immediately followed by impromptu jingles made by the teams and Kamal and Wioleta praised the teams they felt were captivating. The mood was certainly set and the teams, with their ‘drop-the-box’ ideas, were determined to claim the winning award! 

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The second day started off as the delegates then made their way into the auditorium where they were introduced to their expert mentors for the day. This was followed by an entire day of finding and creating a solution to the challenge given to the team. The mentors guided the teams to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face in India and across the world. After lunch the teams worked on their ideas for a couple more hours and then they were made to present their solutions to the members of the jury. 

 

The teams presented some practical solutions to the challenge that was posed to them and they made it difficult for the jury to choose the winning teams and come to a conclusion. The jury presentations were followed by the Awards Ceremony at the main auditorium which was now vibrantly decorated with colours of India. Hosts for the Awards Ceremony Divya Dureja and Kamal Seth welcomed the audience and took them through the entire Day 2 with a slideshow of pictures playing to the song “Aaj Ka Yeh Din”. 

As the ceremony continued, winners of the ‘You Are The Story’ Contest Raashi Thakran, Kunal Soni and Harshil Anand shared their stories with the audience  consisting of delegates, mentors and happiness team. This was followed by a session from AIESEC in Delhi IIT and the launch of RSPO’s ‘I am a Sustainability Warrior’ ambassador program and a #YouthforSustainability Fellowship with Centre For Responsible Business. Some members of the Happiness Team and Delegates were then invited to share their own YIC experiences which was followed by the announcement of the winning teams.

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“Time has come for the youth in India to step up our efforts to tackle the climate crisis. We must do the best we can to leave a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren. A collective effort by the people and supported by companies, NGOs, governments and all civil society stakeholders can make it happen. We must hold each other accountable for our promises.” said Kamal Seth

“In order to do the great work of making this world a better place, we must learn to keep ourselves happy and ‘hack our brains’ to stay in a positive state of mind to tackle the biggest challenges of our times like the climate crisis and depression. We must grab all opportunities to increase our self awareness and practical skills to add more and more value in the work we do.” said Wioleta Burdzy Seth

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The 10th Young India Challenge has been the biggest one so far with more than 50 speakers, mentors and jury members and throughout the two days of the event, the energy was on a whole different level. So many passionate youngsters all gathered in one place to find solutions to the challenges we face in India is an indicator of the vast potential that the Indian youth has.

We would like to thank all our partners and supporters for making the 10th Young India Challenge a mega success!

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