The community youth leaders of Shivaji Nagar and Apnalaya came together during Apnalaya Week from 1st December to 10th December to celebrate the Power of Volunteerism. It culminated on Human Rights Day, with a pledge that has been collectively composed by the community to work together to bring about a life of dignity in Shivaji Nagar through volunteerism.
“Due to my training at Apnalaya, I have become a role model in the community. The people who used to advise my parents against sending me to school, to not play Kabaddi because of my gender, are the ones asking me for advice now,” said Nasreen, a Khula Aasmaan mentor at the Khula Aasmaan Kabaddi tournament.
The events during Apnalaya Week ranged from a POCSO (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Mela conducted by community volunteers to sensitise people of Shivaji Nagar on aspects of the POCSO Act, to an all-girls Kabaddi tournament where the athletes showcased their skills, breaking gender stereotypes and reclaiming public spaces. Apnalaya, in association with NGO Prerana, conducted a Networking Meeting on barriers to the implementation of the POCSO Act. Apnalaya volunteers and 10 NGOs engaged with Child Protection attended this meeting with a promise to collaborate together in the future, which is a great start.
An inclusive Sports Day and Art Festival were also held during Apnalaya week. 213 kids participated at the Sports Day, including children with disabilities. Games were designed to celebrate inclusion – that allowed all, with or without disability, to play together. 500 kids portrayed “What an equal world for a Person With Disability will look like”at the Art Festival, which was showcased during Sports Day.
Through street plays and rallies, community volunteers shared their work experience with their neighbors. Both adult and youth volunteers were felicitated during Apnalaya week!
Across these 10 days, through Apnalaya Week, the significance of volunteerism for the community and by the community reached thousands of people in Shivaji Nagar. Over 1000 people across the 12 clusters of Shivaji Nagar actively participated in developing the pledge contributing their thoughts and highlighting issues reflecting their ground reality.
Below is the pledge that was developed:
We, the volunteers of Shivaji Nagar take this pledge so that people live a life of dignity:
- We will work along with all the people of the community
- We will not discriminate amongst people
- We will work with the government to address issues related to education, employment, sanitation, health and human rights
A key aspect of Apnalaya’s work centers around 1000 community leaders, who effect change at the local level. We believe that if people are proactive, basic amenities can be achieved.
Our Citizenship programme introduced in 2017 has demonstrated the effectiveness of volunteerism. 27 civic action projects on issues such as water, electricity, solid waste management, lane reconstruction, sanitation, and pest control have been completed and close to 20,000 people have visibly improved living conditions in the last 12 months at Shivaji Nagar.