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Arpita Chowdhury is a 21-year-old, founded the Jazbaat Foundation, which is a Delhi based project working to impart academic support and skill training to underprivileged students.
Arpita Chowdhury is a 21-year-old, who graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi. She studied English and Journalism, and is former president of the English Department.
She is the founder of Jazbaat Foundation, which is a Delhi based project working to impart academic support and skill training to underprivileged students.
With the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, Arpita observed that many under-resourced students were on the verge of dropping out from their schools. It is then, when she decided to start her own project to extend a helping hand to these students.
Under the project, she started a campaign called #EducationForAll during the peak wave Covid pandemic, in order to help support students from remote villages of India.
Arpita along with her team of five volunteers arranged for accommodation in Delhi for such five students who were willing to continue their studies after the 10th standard, but the pandemic crushed their hopes.
Judicial use of social media and personal networks were made to appeal to people for help. Between August 2020 to December 2020, the project reached out to nearly 500+ people who helped by donating money, stationery materials, books, Wi-Fi connection and food for the students.
Arpita then started the ‘Voluntary Teaching Program’ under the aegis of #EducationForAll wherein they reached out to several school/college students to teach via online mode.
30-40 volunteers from institutions across India had/are working with Jazbaat Foundation teaching various subjects. About 10 volunteers are from my college itself.
The project has conducted several workshops, skill training sessions and webinars (inviting career professionals, psychologists, college professors, youth leaders) for the students.
In order to build a larger network of youth volunteers, the project has collaborated with various youth-based organizations like Enactus Hindu College, Rotaract Club of Rever, Aarohan NGO, Women’s Development Cell KNC and many more).
But the journey for this young person has not been easy, she still faces doubts and questions because of her age! In this article, Arpita shares are experiences as a young social worker in a very judgemental world.
Do you think people doubt you not because of your capability, but because of your young age?
There’s always a perception that, “Oh! She’s so young, what can she even contribute?”
In the past few years, whether it was starting my own project Jazbaat Foundation at the young age of 18 or whether it was being recognized by Breakthrough India as the youngest Covid Relief Initiative founder #LetsFightCovidTogether, I have always seen a sense of scepticism and doubt in the eyes of the people on the other side.
In a country where 27.2 percent of the people are young, why do we always hesitate to give the lead to young people?
It is unfortunate that even in places of decision-making, like the Parliament, Stakeholder Forums or even the 3rd tier of governments, the percentage of young people is extremely low.
Age shaming is a grave issue in today’s society, but the opposite is also true. While yes, we are not shamed for being young, but we were definitely thought of as incapable to handle a big responsibility.
It is not self boasting, it is not thinking highly of oneself, but it is about knowing one’s worth.
It’s time that we shed off this prejudice from our minds. Not only that, but it’s time that we give opportunities to people not based on their age or gender, but based on their capability to carry out a task.
Recently, while watching the Raju Srivastava special episode of The Kapil Sharma Show, Rajat Sood’s words really inspired me and forced me to think about this topic.
“Aksar log umar se andaza lagate hain ki aapko kitna ata hai or kitna nahi, maine ek shayari likhi thi ki —’Kiske haath me pyaali hai kiske muh me roti hai. Bohot kuch jaanta hu mai, meri bss umra choti hai.'”
Translation: “Often people judge your experience based on your age, so I wrote a couplet on that— ‘A cup rests in someone’s palm, and bread on someone’s lips, I know a lot— just my age is small.'”
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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