Youth fellowship programme helps build inclusive communities
Vinay Menon and his friends from St Xavier’s College knew that north-east Indians are typically called ‘foreigners’ or ‘Chinese’ by mainstream Indian society. Aarefa Johari reports.mumbai Updated: Jun 22, 2012 00:30 IST
Vinay Menon and his friends from St Xavier’s College knew that north-east Indians are typically called ‘foreigners’ or ‘Chinese’ by mainstream Indian society.
But when the group of seven began undertook a research project on the problems of north-eastern students in Mumbai’s colleges last year, they realised that north-easterners, too, stereotypically view other Indians as racist and ethnocentric.
The project is a part of a year-long youth fellowship programme conducted by Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (Pukar), an independent city-based research forum. Every year, the eight-year-old programme provides up to 30 youth groups, from various communities in Mumbai, the training and resources to study problems and aspects of their lives.
This year, Pukar’s has inducted 28 groups to research topics ranging from water shortage in Govandi slums to gender biases in public spaces and the nature of friendships on Facebook. The groups will showcase their findings in a public exhibition on Saturday.
“The aim is to help young people learn how to function in a group, resolve conflicts in the community and be inclusive,” said Anita Patil-Deshmukh, Pukar’s executive director.
Most of the youth groups, she says, come from marginalised communities such as rag-pickers, hawkers, slum women or tribals. Through several workshops during the year, Pukar trains them in the use of computers, data-collection and putting the project together.