BHUBANESWAR: Bakul Foundation mobilised hundreds of youth from colleges, schools and IT firms to celebrate ‘Bakul Day of Service’ in 12 slums of Bhubaneswar with a host of fun-filled learning activities here Sunday.
There is a lot of buzz around urban slums and youth as two of the most important elements in the upcoming elections. While everyone is talking about the significant role that will be played by youth, and the over 2 crore first time voters in the Indian elections, one also often decries the supposed lack of political engagement of middle class youth in the cities.
What aids the disengagement is also a perception that at least in the cities, the electoral outcomes are mostly decided in the slums and the votes of middle class youth do not really count.
The event was organised with the understanding that political engagement comes from participation in the process of creating change in society and with exposure to problems faced by the people.
Sujit Mohapatra, a member of Bakul Foundation said, “The purpose of the ‘Day of Service’ is to initiate youth into volunteerism and through that political engagement by creating a platform for them to volunteer.”
The event was also aimed to ensure that the youth of Odisha, who have been socially and politically initiated, remain engaged through an act of service even if they have moved to other cities. It was also an attempt to sensitise the youth to issues faced by people in the slums and by children and the elderly when they go to conduct various activities.
More than 300 volunteers participated in the service at the city slums. This apart, the event was also organised in districts of Anugul, Berhampur and Cuttack.
Coordinator Pooja Mishra said, “There has been a great response of volunteers as young as high school children from DPS Kalinga and KV1, from colleges such as AIIMS, Hi-Tech, IIIT, KIIT, ITER, Trident, J D institute, OUAT, SICC, IT companies such as In2IT and Infosys, and volunteer groups such as TPH, Rotaract and Sankalpa.”
“Storytelling and craftworks were the two activities that the participants engaged in today. In addition to Bhubaneswar, it is happening in 10 cities across India such as Cuttack, Angul, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi,” she added.
Such activities happening in the slums will help promote social cohesion and lessen the divide and foster better interaction and understanding between different social groups in addition to making the youth more politically engaged through volunteerism.