Monday, April 18, 2011

BIS #2363 STORY OF THE YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

Fr. Xavier Devadas

MUMBAI, KARJAT,APRIL 13, 2011: Fifty four youths from various parts of Maharashtra like Amravati, Malgat, Vashim, Roha, Sholapur, etc. joined the hostel for current MORD technical training at Karjat. As part of education, in social responsibility and self governance they were given an opportunity to set up their own governing system. Under this youths were divided into five groups, known as the village. Each group sat separately discussed and elected their village Sar Panch. All the Sarpanches took over the animation of the village, by selecting a suitable name like ektanagar, adrashnagar, etc. The management (central government) chose one member from each village and appointed them as Gram sevak. Further on the Sar Panch and the Gram sevak held a village meeting to appoint seven members who could be representing seven issues like health, education, finance, sports, culture, labour, food and environment. These MLA’s in turn elected their respective ministers. This was followed by Sar Panches and Ministers who were eligible for the posts of CM and Dept.CM. In the right spirit and enthusiasm each candidate made a spirited speech to campaign for themselves. The Gram sevak distributed ballet papers for the election. It was a pulsating moment for everyone as the counting progressed. Finally, Nilesh … from Karanja was elected as the Chief Minister of DBYS Karjat and Ashish took over as Dept. CM. Gram Sevak’s in their turn elected their Chief Amol as Chief Secretary of this newly formed YOUTH ASSEMBLY.

Most of these youths came from disadvantaged situations, socially and economically emarginated and politically exploited. To them a mere exercise of participating in such election was educative and empowering. In fact, one could sense the environment of pride and joy on each of the members elected. At DBYS Karjat it is not a mock exercise, these ministries and Panchayat would engage in real time activity of panning, executing and monitoring day-to-day activities. The important fact of this is that each member is endowed with rights and responsibilities. The unlimited scope for developing leadership is thrown open, participatory decision-making and collective problem-solving becomes ordinary day-to-day experience. Through this, not only these youth build self-confidence but also they assist in running the entire in-house living at Karjat.

There is hope in the future that Don Bosco will not only sharpen the tools of earning livelihood but also molding the youth to lead the emerging India.

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