Why is Ashoka working towards an "Everyone a Changemaker" World?

India, the world’s youngest and largest democracy is developing at a breakneck pace. There are continual political, social and cultural changes. Yet, despite years of unrelenting efforts made by varied stakeholders; government, private and civic sectors, we still remain a ‘developing nation’. Widespread hunger, dismal educational outcomes, rising unemployment, lack of access to basic amenities such as clean water, electricity, sanitation and healthcare continue to plague the nation.

As a $1.7 trillion economy, we still have a long way to go in to be able to assume the status of a ‘developed nation’. And a vital part of our progress depends, almost entirely on the 198.9 million children enrolled in public and private schools across the nation. Not only will these children witness myriad changes, but will also have the unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in the nation-building process. Driven by enthusiasm and positive impatience, it is imperative that we productively channel their energies and help shape them into competent leaders who will go on to find solutions to complex social and economic problems. 

However, this poses a few critical questions: Are children and youth today equipped with the skills to tackle these changes? Are they inspired enough to work towards building a better nation and ultimately a better world? Are they Changemakers? 

At Ashoka India, our experience of over three decades and invaluable insights from our global networks of over 3, 000 social entrepreneurs helped us conclude that for the world to be a better place to live in, we must shape an Everyone a Changemaker (EACH) world, where children and youth are active participants in the systemic change process and contribute to the ever-changing landscape; creatively and positively.

In 2013, Ashoka organized the Bangalore+ Sustainability Summit in partnership with Ashoka Fellow Sunil Abraham’s Centre for Internet and Society. Widely well attended and received by a diverse crowd, the summit delved deeper into the power of technology to create youth engagement and positive social change. More recently, in 2014, Ashoka partnered with TEDx Bangalore, which directly oversaw the participation of youth in discussions with Ashoka Fellows like Vishal Talreja, Founder of Dream a Dream and Kuldeep Dantewadia, Founder of Reap Benefit. Through these small, community-led events, Ashoka has been striving to increase youth participation in the society.

However, in 2015, Ashoka India aims to reach out to a larger section of the society. Through our focus on schools, which undoubtedly are a key entry point to shape behaviours and mindsets, we aim to foster a world where every person understands and expresses empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork as we believe these are highly essential to bring about a transformational change.

And as a part of our EACH endeavour, we are extremely excited about launching two new programs focusing exclusively on children, which will not only inspire them to new ways of thinking but will pave the way for them to be Changemakers! 

Do keep checking our website for these program related announcements! In the meanwhile, should you have any questions, send an e-mail to mvijayann@ashoka.org or svitta@ashoka.org.

Photo courtesy: The main slideshow photo and the photo insert is taken by Sanofi Pasteur for Children India Polio Handicap Prosthesis School and is used for representative purposes only.