Wednesday 7 August 2013


An Article by Manya Gugnani 

"Young people are a wellspring of ideas for innovation. They are today's thinkers, problem-solvers and catalysts for peace. They are often the world's strongest advocates of justice and dignity. But they need good jobs, quality education and access to culture for all. They need to be heard and they need to be included".
-Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

As we approach the UN's International Youth Day on August 12, we focus on the young people who do, deliver and support the Award worldwide. International Youth Day recognizes and celebrates young people and the contribution they make to society, many of them doing this through the Award. This year's theme for International Youth Day is 'Youth Migration: Moving Forward', how it unites people from different backgrounds, abilities and cultures. We at IAYP India have been doing our bit to promote social inclusion through the Award.

Special Projects
The Special Project was launched in 1999 in collaboration with various well-established NGOs to empower the disadvantaged youth from underprivileged sections of society to realize their potential, build their confidence and work towards achieving their goals. The Special Project units aim at harnessing the potential of young people from socially isolated sections of the society and providing them the necessary resources to complete the Award programme. We, at IAYP, believe that everybody deserves a chance. This is exactly what the Special Project aims to do. In this task, the Indian Award Programme was assisted by a supporting grant from the International Special Projects.

Over 3000 young people and 13 educational institutions are participating in the Special Projects programme on an equal footing. The programme is extremely popular with young people of both sexes and at times it is difficult to cope with their enthusiasm to join the Award Programme in all its activities.

Testimonials: Vicky Roy
Vicky Roy hails from Purulia in West Bengal. He ran away from home in 1999 at the age of 11 years, and hitched a train ride to Delhi. He joined a pack of children living off the streets, and earned a meal by collecting discarded plastic bottles. After six months of almost daily abuse, he left the railway station, and went to work in a street food stall (dhabha). Here he washed dishes, and was given food in return.

An open door
A former member from our partner organisation, the Salaam Balak Trust, found him and opened a door to a better life. The Trust encouraged him to take up the Award Programme. He did so, and studied photography for his Skills section. His talent for taking photographs was soon noticed and he was sent to the Triveni Kala Sangam for training. He studied under British photographer Dixie Benjamin, and is currently an apprentice with Delhi based photographer Anay Mann. Vicky has had a solo exhibition of his work at the Experimental Art Gallery of the India Habitat Centre, Delhi, and has also exhibited in the UK.

Vicky grabbed the opportunities offered by the Award in India. In a recent interview with the BBC 's Alice Beer, he spoke of the support and warm encouragement he got in taking photography as a Skill, and how Award expeditions opened his eyes to a world beyond the mean streets. Vicky partnered a blind participant from the Blind Boy's Academy in Narendrapur, Kolkata during his Residential Project. He had to describe nature to his partner as they walked, and was amazed at this new way of looking at things. He watched these visually handicapped young people stride ahead in confidence, and realized they were role models to village families who hid their sightless children in the dark corners of their homes.

Many opportunities
Vicky says, "Without the challenge of the Award, I would still be washing dishes. Today, my eyes are open to the endless possibilities that life offers. The Award has given me the confidence to grab my opportunities." 
- Vicky Roy, Gold Award holder & international photographer

What can you do on International Youth Day?

To commemorate the Day, you are encouraged to organize events or activities in your community. Please share your commemoration with the world! Send in a description of your planned activities to
The most creative activities will be featured on the United Nations website to provide a sense of how International Youth Day is being celebrated around the world!

Below, some ideas about what you can do in you community and how you can effectively spread the message:

Educational radio or TV show Contact popular local/national radio or TV stations to request a slot to have a discussion with distinguished individuals and youth migrants.

Organize a public meeting or debate to discuss the risks and benefits of youth migration and the innovative ways youth can tackle the challenges of migration at the local, national, and international level.

Organize a Google+ Hangout to bring together young people and relevant stakeholders from all over the world to discuss experiences of youth migration.

Initiate round table discussions among adults and young people to promote inter-generational understanding and partnerships on the issue of youth migration.

Organize a youth forum to exchange ideas and discuss the social, economic and cultural backgrounds of migrants in order to help young people accept others and popularize a culture of non-violence and tolerance.

Organize a concert on youth migration and development to promote International Youth Day. Invite your local musicians and combine it with a panel discussion or invite a politician or policy maker to hold the keynote speech.

Create an "info point" about youth migration-related issues in the center of town/village, at high schools, or at university centers.

Organize an exhibition Get permission to use a public space for an arts exhibit, which showcases the challenges of young migrants today or how young migrants including returnees are contributing to development at home and abroad. Try to involve young people in the domains of culture, arts and music, to raise awareness on youth migration related issues.

Write to your minister of youth to inform him or her about the challenges young migrants, potential youth migrants and other youth face in their daily lives and to suggest solutions.

Make an impact!

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