Bhubaneswar: The upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls will be a more inclusive one, with the city-based Bakul Foundation resorting to a novel initiative by conducting an interface between the urban youths and slum dwellers and engaged them in various activities on electoral process on Sunday.
With the understanding that political engagement comes from participation in the process of creating change in society and with exposure to problems faced by people, Bakul Foundation, a NGO promoting volunteerism in Odisha, has mobilised hundreds of youth from colleges, schools and IT firms in at least 12 slums of Bhubaneswar and having fun and learning activities with children on Sunday to mark BAKUL Day of Service.
Nation-wide event coordinator Pooja Mishra of said that 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 and ensure that 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 also aimed at sensitizing the youth to issues faced by people in the slums and by children and the elderly when they go to conduct activities
While everyone is talking about the significant role that will be played by youth, and the over two 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, she said.
There was 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. In addition to Bhubaneswar, the interface was also held in 10 more cities across the country like Cuttack, Angul, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi.
“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,” added the event coordinator.