2016 at Youth Alliance was marked with strengthening of old relationships and beginning of some new ones as we came together at 5 years celebration of Youth Alliance. One thing that came up strongly in the celebration was the proposal for more space to meet as a group. One of the ideas that germinated gave birth to Action Learning Saturdays, which is one weekend day every month held for our alumni to do a host of things together from day-long learning journeys to a movie together to visit any organization for a group discussion or leadership circle. It also becomes an opportunity for non-alumni to come in YA circles and share the experience.
Action Learning is an initiative to invite and engage all YA alums in order to continue their learning and open our door to non-alums as well.
THIS MONTHS ACTION LEARNING SATURDAY
Life Behind Veils
This Action Learning Saturday, we come closer to witness an identity living in our society but always hidden, always kept on the edges. We take out time to understand the Transgender community closely and create a space of interaction for a few hours with empathy.
The idea is to break our stereotypes about the Transgender Community and create a space of equality in our everyday life during the encounter with them whether it is at a red light or in a train station. We believe these are the people who live a life of courage to express who they really are and it is important to listen to their voices and stories of courage.
We would be visiting Pahal, a not-for-profit who under Project Astitva, are empowering transgenders. They work intensively on their identity, improving their livelihood, building access to health care facilities for them and creating role models within the community by promoting and creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and jobs with dignity.
Glimpses of Action Learning Saturdays held previously
January: At Katputli Colony
The first ALS happened with one of our alumni, Vijay who runs an organisation called Jagriti in Katputli Colony slum in Shadipur, where 12 communities comprising artists from different states of India live. On the day, we witnessed communities struggle to get dignified residential area from the government. And Jagriti’s effort to become a bridge between the two. It was here that it felt the intensity of values being practised by one of our alumni - only strengthening our belief in what we do.
March: At Labhya
Learning. Colours. Ownership. Gratitude! These were some of our reflections at the end of our action packed Action Learning Saturday with @thelabhyafoundation Our day began by sharing a circle with Team Labhya, a group of committed artists, designers and architects in the making, who chose to dedicate their creativity and souls to Project LAPE. The idea behind Project LAPE is to make government schools an enriching experience in entirety. We experienced the energy and values that have extended their way through two alums of Youth Alliance, Richa Gupta and Vedant Jain. From mixing colours to painting to immersing ourselves in the culture of Labhya, we experienced the ripple effect first hand, yet again!
February: At Goonj
Goonj which some of us call living monument of social change in India, would have been a pilgrimage spot for Action Learning. 25 of us who came together in February were awestruck by the attention to detail that was given by every member of the Goonj family to their work. Anshu Bhaiya and Meenakshi Didi shared their thoughts on the 18-year exceptional journey with Goonj, from it's birth to it's growth. They spelled out the telling reality of our ecosystem and how dreams matter the most.
April: At Kat-Katha
Kat-Katha supports women and children living in the brothels of GB Road to create a better future for themselves.
Each of us were made aware of the 'pyaar ka mohalla' as Geetanjali didi likes to call it, that existed in the cramped little worlds up the dark stairs. The love and concern that the didis showered on us was so humane it left not one of us untouched. From offering food to inviting us to rest after being exhausted in the sun, the decked up didis in their shimmering clothes were figures of motherhood. We all walked up home a little richer that day, with a little more love in our beings, our smile wider, our hearts warmer. GB Road is indeed a 'pyaar ka mohalla'.
“I felt that the YA members instantly became a part of the team and shared the cause. They reflected the spirit of service to me” - Siddhi, Team Labhya