The first phase of the ‘Prayas Apna’ workshop – a joint initiative of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance
(GIWA) and UNFPA in partnership with PRAVAH at Parmarth Niketan designed to train and empower at-risk youth to dream and develop a strategy to reach that dream, and to share that strategy with their peers – concluded with a beautiful water-blessing ceremony led by GIWA Co-Founder and Chair, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, in his beautiful jhopri at Parmarth. The ceremony signifies participants’ commitment to doing all that they can to conserve, preserve and protect water resources for this and future generations throughout the world, and was a beautiful opportunity to showcase the drive and commitment of the young dream ambassadors!
In comments offered after the ceremony, Pujya Swamiji said “Adolescence is an early period during which children develop physically. They develop values. They develop core beliefs…a sense of identity, and an understanding of their place in the world. They are trying to find themselves. To see themselves as distinct personalities from their families and other members of society. This is also when they leave childhood behind and prepare for their future. They want to move forward with their rights and duties in their communities and society. This program is the perfect tool for them to do that!”
Director of Implementation and Communication, Ganga Nandini Tripathiji, shared “The program aims to create a strong environment that inspires adolescents to identify and fulfill their aspirations for a happy and healthy life. The curriculum is a path to identify and realize their dream (sapna). It encourages teenagers to dream, develop a strategy to reach that dream, to learn to overcome obstacles and to problem-solve, then to build their resolve and commitment towards it and make that dream come true. And, it motivates them to take full responsibility for it.”
Head instructor Ishani ji said that this outreach effort to youth has been built around the various dreams of teenagers – the dreams that all teens have – with the goal of helping them to build their abilities to work towards fulfilling those dreams. To do this, four important questions are asked #: Where am I now? What are my dreams? What prevents me from realizing those dreams? What do I need to do to fulfill my dream? They have to find answers to all these questions themselves.
As part of the program, three Teen Club Centers have been set up by Parmarth Niketan at Chandeshwar Nagar, Kale Ki Dhal and Khara Sources, where local youth can meet to share their stories and progress with their peers and seek guidance on ways to move forward and where they begin to take the necessary steps to enter the workforce and, most importantly, fulfill their dreams!