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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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Indian Youth Voice for Sustainability at the Young India Challenge Reunion: “We want a future full of hope not dismay”

23rd November, New Delhi: Fifty young people from across the country from the Young India Challenge community  gathered in New Delhi for a bi-annual reunion to create an action roadmap to tackle the climate emergency. The event was co-organised by RSPO, My Mark My City Initiative, AIESEC and Youth for Earth and after a month long intense discussions and productive critical arguments, youth from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds joined hands to co-create their commitment towards a shared responsibility for deforestation and exploitation free products in India and for making sustainable palm oil the norm.

This gathering was a follow up to the ‘10th Young India Challenge’ organized by Human Circle on 12-13 Oct 2019 at IIT Delhi and a ‘Climate Action Roundtable’ organized for the My Mark My City Initiative by the Museum for United Nations -UN Live’ in association with Human Circle in Mumbai. The event saw the participation of  500 selected youth, mentors, speakers and partners from more than 75 cities. The theme of the event was ‘Sustainable Living’ and the focus for the delegates was to find practical solutions for the ‘United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12 ans 13, namely, Responsible Consumption and Production and Climate Action.

The Indian Youth Delegation stated

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“We represent millions of young people in India. We are now a 1.3 billion people country. More than 50% of our population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. For some this represents a demographic dividend and for others our overpopulation is putting immense pressure on the natural resources like air and water and worsening the climate crisis. We think this is a wake up call for all Indians and that it is time that we consider our ecological footprint not just in India but in other countries as well, which supply essential commodities to us like palm oil, pulp & paper, timber, soy, rubber and many others. We are aware that India is in a way IMPORTING DEFORESTATION through these products. For example, India is the largest consumer of palm oil, 50% of all the products we buy contain palm oil.

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We grew up in an era of extreme change. We have seen our homes once a place of warmth to be surrounded with smog, our air that gives us breath to be coloured in grey haze, our coastline where we have our livelihoods to be receding. In the Himalayan region, we see glaciers melting, temperatures rising above the imaginable and cyclones in Odisha destroying everything in its way. 15 states across India faced devastating floods in 2019.  We have no doubt that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. According to Greta Thunberg, “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about your fairy tales of money and eternal economic growth.” Every drought and every flood is now more severe and more devastating. There is a need to ACT NOW!

The shift towards sustainable palm oil is a win-win situation for all. We believe that, not just us the youth, but all of us here today want to live in a future that is recognisable to us, one with abundant clean air to breathe, thriving forests and wildlife. There is no reason to accept anything less. This is the time for you, people of great power and influence within your circles lead this change. And we, the youth of India will be right behind you

Stop asking us to solve all your problems that you created. Solve them now. A better future is possible, and we will not settle for anything less.

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The Indian Youth Delegation will continue their work on #YouthForSustainability in their respective countries.

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“Time To Act Is Now”: Asian Youth Urge Big Businesses To Make Palm Oil Production Sustainable

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Fifty young people from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand gathered in Bangkok for the inaugural Asian Youth for Sustainable Palm Oil Summit co-organised by RSPO, PM Haze, and GIZ Thailand. After nine hours of intense discussions and productive critical arguments, youth from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds joined hands to co-create commitment towards shared responsibility to make ‘sustainable palm oil’ the norm.

The youth delegation hosted their summit prior to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil conference to highlight the urgency for big businesses to act now. The Asian Youth Delegation stated, “We represent 4 billion people in the region. We grew up in an era of extreme change. We have seen our homes once a place of warmth to be on fire now, our air that gives us breath to be coloured in grey haze and smog, our coastline where we have our livelihoods to be receding. And elsewhere in the world, we see glaciers melting, temperatures rising above the imaginable and typhoons destroying everything in its way. There is a need to act, now.”

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The statement by the Youth Delegation went on to question the effectiveness of our current approaches. “Lifestyle changes can make a difference. But is it really enough? The key to achieving a sustainable future lies in economic transformation. And this economic transformation cannot happen without integrity. We ask of you the businesses, to commit and deliver your environmental promises and to be transparent with your progress. Because it is vital for businesses to change first so that the rest of us can join in the wave of change. This long-term investment will encourage brand loyalty and economic benefit. It will unite consumers and businesses towards a common goal for a sustainable future. There is no time to be ready, we just have to commit and grind through the challenges together,” the statement read.

The Asian youth delegation emphasised that accountability and innovation are key, and as the next generation they will be committing to sustainability themselves but also hold organisations and businesses accountable.

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With our numbers and the economics we represent, which constitute more than 50% of the global GDP, we believe that youth today have great power to offer. Our common values, ideas, and energy will be our drive. To support you, the youth of Asia promises you here today that:

– We will integrate sustainability in and beyond our daily lives.
– We will keep ourselves informed of current affairs and effective solutions.
– We will work collaboratively through public platforms, therefore amplifying our impacts.
– We pledge to keep ourselves, businesses, governments, and NGOs accountable across countries for sustainable production and consumption of palm oil,” the statement read.

The delegation went on to state, “The youth have committed to this. And you have no choice but to work together. The shift towards sustainable palm oil is a win-win situation for all. We believe that not just us the youth, but all of us here today want to live in a future that is recognisable to us, one with abundant clean air to breathe, thriving forests and wildlife. There is no reason to accept anything less. This is the time for you, people of great power and influence within your circles lead this change. And we, the youth, the 4 billion in South Asia and Southeast Asia will be right behind you. A better future is possible.”

“The effort by the youths to engage in critical discussions of sustainable palm oil sector is commendable. Engaging with youths has always been part of our advocacy strategy, as we believe that we can grow an effective grassroots movement to increase adoption of sustainable palm oil to prevent transboundary haze in the region.” Benjamin Tay, Executive Director, People’s Movement to Stop Haze

“The action from Asian Youth is so inspiring! They have done a great job to support sustainable consumption. Consumer awareness on sustainable palm oil in Thailand is still low. We, GIZ as a cooperation development agency, commit  here that we together with Thai youth will leverage this awareness.” Kanokwan Saswattecha, Project Manager of Sustainable and Climate-friendly Palm Oil in Thailand, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

“There is a big opportunity for businesses to meet the sustainability expectations of the youth and build trust and brand loyalty through sustainable palm oil sourcing policies and actions. We encourage all the RSPO members to respond to this call. Together we can inspire a generation of people with hope and optimism and co-create a more inclusive world for all. THERE IS NO PLANET B.” Kamal Prakash Seth, Country Head, RSPO India

The Asian Youth Delegation will continue their work on #YouthForSustainability in their respective countries.

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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