The 10th Young India Challenge (YIC) was organised by Human Circle on 12th and 13th October at IIT Delhi. The event was focussed on #DoWhatYouLove with a theme of ‘Sustainable Living’. Approximately 500 students, young professionals and entrepreneurs from more than 75 cities participated at YIC to find solutions for the challenges we face in India regarding. People worked in teams to work on UN Sustainable Development Goals 12 and 13, that is, Responsible Consumption & Production and Climate Action respectively.
The first day started of with some icebreaker games with the delegates and a ‘Welcome to the #DoWhatYouLove Movement’ keynote address by Kamal Seth (Founder & Chief Happiness Officer and Co-creator, YIC) with a thumping introduction and set the already pumped up energy even higher!! 400 jovial faces from all regions of India were greeted with some of the historic YIC rituals, like the ‘Collectective Ovation’. A tribute to the nation with a vitalizing Vande Mataram slowly compounded the high spirits with a constructive seriousness of the cause of Sustainable Living. The delegates raised their Reusable Bamboo Mugs, pledged to be a #SustainabilityWarrior and to fight the climate crisis faced by our nation and the world at large. Kamal also asked the young mins a promise to use their reusable mugs to the point it gets withered.
Wioleta (Co-founder, Human Circle & Co-creator, Young India Challenge) really shifted gears to the ‘How to do it’ part of the Movement with the anatomy of the brain pictorial and with her fun exercise ritual. She enabled everyone to connect with themselves as well as with their neighbors. The session proceeded as a sharing session where the participants learnt how to keep keep good mental health. The afternoon of the first day saw speaker sessions by Nida Hasan, Country Head of Change.org, India and Anshul Tewari Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Youth Ki Awaaz. These sessions found some really interesting questions from the curious minds in the audience and it can safely be said that the speakers loved by the participants for their courage and passion. There was also an engaging dialogue on #YouthforSustainability. It covered various areas like excess consumerism, role of media, political and social outreach for climate action, emergency of the sustainability issues in India, and a lot more. The panelists also deliberated upon how to make sustainable supply chains more mainstream in India, like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO – a standard for sustainability) backed certified sustainable palm oil. Seated on the panel were the Founder of Human Circle and india Representative, RSPO, Kamal Seth, Prashant Jha, Hindi Editor of Youth Ki Awaaz, Namrata Kilpady, Campaign Manager, Change.org, Devik Sodha, President of AIESEC India, and Saneesh Cherian, Head of Business Management, The Logical Indian. The eminent panelists engaged in a dialogue about how sustainability issues are tackled by these coveted digital media organizations, MNCs and governments. One of the outcomes of the discussion was to develop a consensus for #YouthforSustainability and a collaboration amongst like minded organizations to reach millions of people in India for the same.
After the immersive panel discussion, the Happiness Team entered with flags of the teams and gathered them up to set them in a brainstorm mode. This was immediately followed by impromptu jingles made by the teams and Kamal and Wioleta praised the teams they felt were captivating. The mood was certainly set and the teams, with their ‘drop-the-box’ ideas, were determined to claim the winning award!
The second day started off as the delegates then made their way into the auditorium where they were introduced to their expert mentors for the day. This was followed by an entire day of finding and creating a solution to the challenge given to the team. The mentors guided the teams to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face in India and across the world. After lunch the teams worked on their ideas for a couple more hours and then they were made to present their solutions to the members of the jury.
The teams presented some practical solutions to the challenge that was posed to them and they made it difficult for the jury to choose the winning teams and come to a conclusion. The jury presentations were followed by the Awards Ceremony at the main auditorium which was now vibrantly decorated with colours of India. Hosts for the Awards Ceremony Divya Dureja and Kamal Seth welcomed the audience and took them through the entire Day 2 with a slideshow of pictures playing to the song “Aaj Ka Yeh Din”.
As the ceremony continued, winners of the ‘You Are The Story’ Contest Raashi Thakran, Kunal Soni and Harshil Anand shared their stories with the audience consisting of delegates, mentors and happiness team. This was followed by a session from AIESEC in Delhi IIT and the launch of RSPO’s ‘I am a Sustainability Warrior’ ambassador program and a #YouthforSustainability Fellowship with Centre For Responsible Business. Some members of the Happiness Team and Delegates were then invited to share their own YIC experiences which was followed by the announcement of the winning teams.
“Time has come for the youth in India to step up our efforts to tackle the climate crisis. We must do the best we can to leave a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren. A collective effort by the people and supported by companies, NGOs, governments and all civil society stakeholders can make it happen. We must hold each other accountable for our promises.” said Kamal Seth
“In order to do the great work of making this world a better place, we must learn to keep ourselves happy and ‘hack our brains’ to stay in a positive state of mind to tackle the biggest challenges of our times like the climate crisis and depression. We must grab all opportunities to increase our self awareness and practical skills to add more and more value in the work we do.” said Wioleta Burdzy Seth
The 10th Young India Challenge has been the biggest one so far with more than 50 speakers, mentors and jury members and throughout the two days of the event, the energy was on a whole different level. So many passionate youngsters all gathered in one place to find solutions to the challenges we face in India is an indicator of the vast potential that the Indian youth has.