Teen social innovators recognised from across India

January 02, 2018

Mumbai: Ashoka Innovators for the Public, India, Youth Venture programme recently selected its cohort of 18 teen social innovators as role models for youth, from across India within the age group of 12 and 20.

The list features teenagers from Mumbai as Youth Venturers. The Youth Venture program aims at transforming the youth culture across the country by enabling teenagers to lead change. The programme aims to address the problem that majority of children lack critical and indispensable skills of empathy, creative problem solving, collaborative leadership and sophisticated team work skills while growing up, which not only has direct implications on the young people entering job markets but also achieving the sustainable developments goals outlined by United Nations.

Teenagers represent both the future of the country and the group that is most receivable to being empowered with a changemaker mind-set and cognitive empathy. Ashoka Youth Venture program therefore believes that great entrepreneurs start in their teens. Ashoka India has identified these teen changemakers as young leaders who have been selected on the basis of their demonstrated passion and commitment towards social change, leadership potential and their aspiration to become change representatives for their society. These youngsters are working on diverse projects addressing some key social problems from across the country. Ms. Avantika and Mr. Raghav, two teenagers from Mumbai have been selected amongst 18 Changemakers from the country, details of their initiative is as below:

Avantika (age 18) and Raghav (age 17) started “Techstart

Growing technical demand in service sector is leading to unemployment of large number of young workers and students, who seem to lack the required technical nous. Even though the number of jobs in the technical sector are increasing, the employment isn't following proportionality as a consequence of low technical knowledge. This problem was identified by Raghav and Avantika who have sought to address this issue by contacting and building relations with other NGOs and many public schools, thereafter conducting workshops to improve Digital Literacy.

They also have a Mentor Program, which assigns tech enthusiasts who are interested in pursuing careers in tech to a professional developer, thus providing exposure to the industry, thereby guiding them to make informed career choices. They have taught 360 students across 2 countries, and engaged 61 volunteers. They foresee their venture reaching to rural India as well as to many countries abroad.

The selection process took place in 3 stages with the final round held in Bangalore on 14th & 15th July in the presence of an eminent jury comprising of an Ashoka Fellow, Youth Venturers and industry leaders. In coming few months, Ashoka will host workshops and co-creation sessions with veteran social entrepreneurs, thought leaders and experts from business to help these teenagers learn from these experts and each other through regular interactions and knowledge sharing. Through these sessions the youth venturers will not only learn about micro & macro aspects of running and scaling their social venture but also how they could create more changemakers around them in a collaborative environment

Speaking on the occasion, Yashveer Singh, Director, Youth Venture, Ashoka South Asia said, “Raghav and Avantika are role models for other children because of their inspiring efforts to identify an important problem & address it at such a young age. The success of our society depends on what proportion of teenagers become, practice and know that they are changemakers and what percentages of the stakeholders know that they have a successful or failing community depending on whether or not they are building a culture where every young person is a changemaker. Through the Youth Venture program, Ashoka aims to build a collaborative entrepreneurship society by working with like-minded individuals & to have larger impact amongst children of the country.”

Excited to be recognised as a Youth Venturers, Raghav & Avantika feel that the recognition will be an opportunity to inspire more students and teenagers from across Maharashtra to become changemakers. They aim to work with city’s schools and youth groups across the country to build a small changemaker movement in the nation.