Culture & Society

Erasing Borders, Evolving Outlook

Shirin Rai Gupta

New Delhi: In the cushioned sphere of the privileged, it isn’t hard to forget that a lesser fortunate world runs a parallel existence. While some individuals and groups take on isolated social responsibility projects and call it ‘giving back to society’, there exists a smaller percentage of youngsters that does not shirk away from wholly immersing itself into the cause of sharing. The largest student run organization of the world, AIESEC primarily works towards facilitating international internships for students and promoting cultural exchange between countries. In the Capital, the Delhi University chapter has ensured that cultural exchange includes a firsthand experience in moving towards an understanding of social problems and working at the grass root level to bring about change.

That change begins in the mind can be seen as the driving force of the Development Traineeship programs, which arrange for interns from all over the world to work in NGOs that support social causes and understand the most basic issues faced by our country. The organisation has dedicated a complete department that carries the goal of maximising internships that aim to bring about multidimensional positive impacts on society. Project ASK, run over two cycles in 2010 comprised of interns spreading HIV/AIDS awareness in Delhi for six weeks after training under Sahara NGO, led to a realistic appraisal of the lack of concrete factual knowledge about the syndrome among all sections of the city. “Back home in Philippians I had the impression of India being a backward country. After interacting with students from different colleges, I can vouch that India is on the road to becoming the next superpower” said Roanna Medina, 23, who held HIV/AIDS workshops for students at Delhi University.

Rural development was the main focus of Project Vikaas which gained active support by organisations in Uttar Pradesh. Moving beyond the geographical boundaries of Delhi yet again, the members of the Local Chapter entered into an educational and developmental partnership with Vidya Knowledge Park in Meerut and carried out workshops with a fresh outlook towards the learning process. The main achievement of such projects, besides cross border cooperation came out to be international exposure provided to not just the financially empowered parts of society, but society as a whole. “Eight of us from different countries stay together at a house in Amar Colony. I could have never imagined such a diverse cultural experience. It has been spectacular!” said Darko Sarakinov from Germany, currently working on an educational project in the city. Trainees also came to India to work with Greenforce Vidya and spread awareness about the impact of climate change on other parts of the world and environmentally sustainable habits, so as to infuse the need for urgent action in the minds of the younger generation.

It is encouraging to see young minds at work with such consistent zeal, working towards corporate growth without neglecting their own social responsibility. After a successful initiative for breast cancer awareness, Discovering Hope, the members, being students at the top twenty colleges of the most coveted university in the country, like Sri Ram College of Commerce, Lady Sri Ram College for Women, Hansraj College etc already have big plans for the next six months of 2011. Besides continuing and expanding their Developmental Projects, they will be including events that give exciting opportunities to children that will enable them to pursue their dreams without worrying about financial barriers. AIESEC India has the support of Ram Sarvepalli, Pradeep Gupta and Suresh Rajpal on its Local Board of Advisors and Tata Steel, Godrej, KPMG and Coca Cola among other prestigious corporate houses as National Partners. The ever evolving spirit of working towards a better future for many and not just a few makes these students connect with their cause and thus deliver positivity.

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