The pandemic has left us all searching for answers to unfathomable questions about the post COVID world. Life, as we know it, has ceased to exist, and we have had to reimagine the way we must live our lives going forward.
This unprecedented time has forced us to view ourselves and our world through a new lens.
COVID-19 has unleashed unimaginable destruction and chaos with catastrophic effects. It has not left a single person unscathed, and the impact on each person has been different with varying intensity levels.
To help mitigate the effects of the pandemic, organisations and individuals have come together since March 2020 to help provide relief to the healthcare industry, marginalised, and other vulnerable communities who have been disproportionately affected in more ways than one.
Many are facing a long road to recovery and rehabilitation. The magnitude of the devastation that occurred triggered empathy and compassion in people from all walks of life.
The determination and commitment displayed to help make a difference have been truly inspiring.
And It’s Not Just Us Adults
I firmly believe that age is just a number, and whoever said that wisdom comes only with age?
The characteristics present in our youth today are glaringly different from previous generations. Their sheer presence of mind and intent to play a vital role in shaping the future is evident in the way they manage their daily lives. Gone are the days when parents plant the seed to care for others, hoping their children will feign interest.
Children as young as 6-years-old are astonishingly aware of the needs of our constantly evolving world and the issues that engulf us — and are starting to understand that their voice and words matter.
Their radical approaches and fresh perspectives continuously prove that they are the future of tomorrow and the key to creating a kinder and more content world.
Schools, too, are aggressively working to instil the concept of social responsibility in students - encouraging them to extend their education beyond their classroom walls - both physical and virtual.
These children are being guided in various ways to amplify their voices and apply their knowledge & skills to help communities around them address their needs.
Grade 8 - Art as Healing Project by the aLphabet School with Nalandaway
The Impact For COVID-19
There is no uncharted territory when it comes to the youth creating an impact. During various stages of the pandemic, groups of young changemakers came forward to contribute their time & effort, to help in innumerable ways.
Many curated and executed online sessions to educate pre-schoolers about the symptoms, causes & effects of COVID and introduce our frontline superheroes to them.
Using Crowdfunding To Make A Change
They engaged in extensive fundraising by facilitating various workshops & masterclasses for kids and adults like art and baking, channelling 100% of the proceeds towards fuelling COVID relief and rehab efforts.
Teams of youngsters launched initiatives to produce and supply masks - providing work to many women who have lost jobs due to the pandemic. Aspiring novice & student artists as young as 5-years-old donated multiple artworks to help raise funds and fight the COVID battle. Their participation and contributions have been endless, with the examples listed here only being the tip of the iceberg!
5-year-old Avyaan Jain raised over Rs 1 lakh for COVID relief by selling his artwork
But This Goes Way Back
The desire among our young ones to make a difference did not only arise when COVD hit us with unrelenting force. The inclination and eagerness among large sections of the youth existed much before. They have spent time reflecting on how they can put their passions and talents to use, as there is no greater motivation than using your love for a purpose.
Robust and impact-making initiatives have been floated in spaces like mental health, art as healing, environmental protection, amplifying voices of the marginalised communities, donation drives for the underprivileged, women empowerment in sports, animal welfare, cyber-bullying, marine pollution, and so much more.
Grade 7 - Sports sessions with Sportz Village at the Medavakkam Government Primary School
- Two like-minded students created a mental health app as a go-to resource for teenagers worldwide looking for support.
- Another team of students worked with non-profit organisations to share written stories from children from marginalised communities and amplify their voices.
- An avid sports fan worked with a sports academy to spread awareness on the inequalities women face in the sports industry and highlighted possible prevention measures & solutions.
- A 13-year-old worked with an organisation to help create audiobooks for visually impaired students in an individual capacity.
While some of these projects have involved direct service, many make change indirectly by advocating for various causes and spreading awareness through campaigns on multiple mediums.
A virtual baking masterclass by an 8 year old Misha Goenka with the Kindness Brigade
The Common Goal
The shared purpose among many initiatives launched by the youth is to create a spark in the minds of others and inspire action. These changemakers are, in a sense - trailblazers, setting examples for those around them to follow suit.
While COVID drastically reduced physical interactions, we are connected more than ever through technology & social media. The sky is the limit for our youth, and there is nothing they cannot achieve once they have set their mind to pursuing something worthwhile.
When I look at the incredible work being done by children across all age groups, it leaves me with an optimistic outlook and belief that the future is in good hands. I have faith they will bring about much-needed social change.