You don’t have to move mountains or travel across the world to bring a change in society, a small initiative can ignite a revolution. Swati Ram the coordinator of ‘Youth for seva’ believes in the same conceptSneha Mashetty and Bhavneet Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
How did you start with ‘Youth for seva’?
I was a happy- go-lucky person who was living a comfortable life with a great job at Infosys and a happy family. But when I started attending the classes at Ram Krishna Matt it all changed, I realised that they are many things beyond living a luxurious life and earning money. I decided to quit my job as I had no sense of satisfaction. I wanted to do something to bring a change and that is how I started with the Youth for Seva in Hyderabad.
Was your decision readily accepted by your family?
In the early stages all my family members were astonished with my decision to quit my job. My husband understood my enthusiasm to bring a change and has been very supportive, in fact, he is a parttime volunteer with the organisation. My parents still don’t approve of my decision, even though they are proud of what I do. They think I shouldn’t have quit my job and managed time between both of them.
What were the challenges you faced initially?
Something what I felt was challenging was to get youngsters involved.When I shared my idea with my friends, six of them were convinced and thought that it could help building a better society and so they joined me, then we started our Facebook page and website to communicate with the youngsters and today we have 350 active volunteers and 3,500 youngsters registered on our website.
What are the issues you work on?
We do not limit ourselves to one single issue, we are open to ideas and take up anything that is proposed by our members. Currently we are working on four major issues education, environment, health and the differently abled.We aim to distribute 10,000 school kits to poor school children, the kit includes a bag, books, geometry box and a plate for mid-day meal.
What campaigns have you held till date?
Our main objective is to spread awareness among the ignorant so that they can take care of their health. We have conducted many health camps in border villages and we named the campaign ‘Aarogya’. We organised many 5k runs in villages to spread awareness about cleanliness and protecting the environment. Our volunteers go to orphanages and slum schools and teach kids every weekend on a regular basis .
How do you get the funds?
Initially there was a problem generating funds but today we have many companies ready to give funds. Money is not the criteria it is automatically collected when you are working for a good cause, getting people’s sustained support and time is the main problem. There are people who come one day and don’t turn up the next day, it is very difficult to keep them engaged all the time.
As you engage with the youth what do you think the major problem with the youth is?
I remember a quote by Swami Vivekananda, “Youth are not useless, they are just ‘used’ less”. The youth of the current generation have a lot of energy we just need a platform to channelise it. So we try to make our organisation a platform for the youth. The youngsters of today are preoccupied with their own life and future plans.
What is the message that you would want to give to the youngsters?
In the race of life do not forget the society you live in. Sit back, think and analyse if you done anything for the people suffering around you and I’m sure you would want to join Youth for seva after that. I hope to see all the young energies work together.