Our “Project Factory” – The story of Youth Clubs that changed the neighborhood youth

By: Devni Wickramasinghe

Youth can be the compelling agents of change, full of radical ideas that demand change and could be inventors of their own theories and ambassadors for communicating change. As a part of the MT programme, I was assigned a CSR project to develop a framework to form Youth Clubs and to support the implementation of it in the neighborhood schools.

In my own words, I would like to call this a ‘project factory’ where school kids who can contribute to creative and interesting things can gather and will have the freedom to generate their own ideas. The initial step was taken by simply answering the questions, that will lay a strong foundation for the future development of the school children.

During the past few years, I have come across many young individuals of various age categories, but this is the first time that I have had the chance to work closely with these young school children, in a project of this nature. The framework was designed with a mission to nurture the school children to good citizens, to ensure the quality and quantity of youth social action is raised over time, to identify emerging young leaderships and bring them forward to improve their accountability and responsibility as youth and to create a platform for JKF and the schools to communicate and interact in a more active way.

Whilst engaging with the Heads of the Schools, teachers and the students, I realized that the young school children can be considered as a larger and a powerful segment, who can address their peers and community groups and pave the way to open the door for change. Even though the school children will be supported by adults, the programmes and activities should be designed on their own, allowing them to empower themselves, whilst developing a sense of community and participation. One of the primary objectives of the youth club is to strengthen a young individual’s role as a responsible and a valued citizen who will initiate change through innovation.

As the primary initiative of our ‘project factory’, these young school children took part in the Art Competition for the World Environment Day, followed by the global theme ‘BeatPlasticPollution’. In the end, this was so much more than we could have imagined, and we were blown away by the creativity that was brought in, by the young enthusiastic children across the Neighborhood Schools.

Yes, there are young citizens out there, who are willing to co-operate and who can make a difference in the world we live in! Their inbuilt passion and knowledge must be constantly catalysed through education and awareness!

All in all, it was a great opportunity to be a part of the JKH MT programme; to take the initiative to form the Youth Clubs in the selected Neighborhood Schools, that will brighten the future of the school children for a better tomorrow.