The Dreamers of Today to shape Our Future


In picture- Distinguished members of the Delhi Government and Plan India along with the members of Youth Advisory Panel
In picture- Distinguished members of the Delhi Government and Plan India along with the members of Youth Advisory Panel


“The youth of today are leaders of tomorrow,”- Nelson Mandela

“By 2021, India will have the maximum number of youths in the world and we should turn this into an advantage. There is no way that India’s policy makers, people in power can ignore us or not take our suggestions anymore,” proclaimed Neha from Plan India’s Youth Advisory Panel while disseminating the Youth Charter at a conference amidst a roomful of government officials.

Neha’s words echoed in the room, resonated with the young and old present in the room; she ofcourse was loud enough to drive the message home.

As Neha went onto to explain the 10-point recommendation ranging from access to education to elimination of gender bias to combat drop put rates of girls to improving gender ratios in workforce; it was quite clear that the youth had thought about each of the challenges and had feasible solutions to it.

The recommendations on the charter focuses on a participatory approach and urges youth themselves to be the change. Here, I would like to share an interesting observation; during an interactive session at the charter presentation ceremony, a Youth Advisory Panel member shared that in her village, girls are still discriminated against and was seeking solutions from the august company of government officials. While her query was genuine and the officials present could have easily shared a few steps; the solution came from the youth present in the room. And the sentiment that echoed was, “We youngsters can bring in change, we should not wait for external agencies to extend the arm of help, but we ourselves need to be champions and role models in our communities!”


A Youth Advisory Panel member shares the National Youth Charter amidst the august presence of members from the Delhi government and Plan India
A Youth Advisory Panel member shares the National Youth Charter amidst the august presence of members from the Delhi government and Plan India


This observation, stunned many of us sporting grey hues of hair, but it made us realise the potential and commitment that youngsters have…all they need is a little nudge towards the right direction.

But this was just the beginning….the open session following the presentation of the charter opened a plethora of insights and actions.

Youngsters clearly aren’t afraid to take a strong step towards the right direction, they have inclination to work with policy makers and forces to bring positive changes in the society and they want to begin with themselves. When the moderator (a lawyer for child rights) urged the youth to ask tough questions to people in power, quite un-hesitantly a young girl shared her bitter experience with the Delhi Police, and soon it became a debatable matter with the police personnel present admitting that there is huge room for improvement from the ‘men in khaki’ and increasingly the forces are trying to come up with modules which apprised children and youth alike of their rights under the J.J Act and FIR processes. The personnel quite gratifyingly asked the youth to create a task force who could work with ‘men in khaki’ to come up with a leaflet highlighting processes and rights, he also invited the group for an exposure visit to their ‘soft skills’ training institute. If this is not a behavioural change then what is.

Moving on from khaki to those dealing with curriculum, a strong recommendation was to work with the DCPCR (Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act) to audit NCERT books from a gender lens. It was suggested that the Youth Advisory Panel form a taskforce to gender-audit each of the NCERT text books from Class I to Class X and call out the gender bias. The audit would be taken up by DCPCR and would be presented to NCERT for changes.


The Ten point recommendation in the National Youth Charter
The Ten point recommendation in the National Youth Charter


With this in motion, very soon, we shall see NCERT portraying both men and women in gender neutral roles and responsibilities. The idea is to call out gender bias at an early age and avoid conditioning of young minds through curriculum. This process is already in motion and by September the task force will submit their audit report to DCPCR.

Discussions on DCW’s (Delhi Commission for Women) role towards generating sensitising and awareness among the youth on laws, rights and counselling were held. The youth were invited for an exposure visit to DCW to further understand their operating systems. Gender discrimination was also pointed out by young girls who shared that many doctors judge them for visiting gynaecologists and how to avoid such judgement, they ‘Google symptoms for medication.’ This unhealthy practice turned out to be hugely popular among young girls and genuinely scared each and everyone in the room. The need for gender awareness and sensitisation at a curriculum level was highly emphasised to ensure that doctors are trained to deal each and every patient with respect and maturity.

The recommendations cited in the charter and the concerns shared were collective voices of 181 youths from the length and breadth of the country. The youth have come of age, it is high time we too.

“Bachhe nehi, hum yuva hai!” – a voice strongly echoes in the room.

For further reading about Plan India’s Plan For Every Child Conference

Written by: Debanjana Choudhuri, Manager- Marketing and Communications, Plan India