Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are instrumental in supporting a community. NGOs are also essential cogs that assist a country’s government mandates to its people. Often NGOs fill in the gaps the government leaves without any prejudice or interference in politics — YUVA is one such entity. But then, why is YUVA unstoppable in India?
YUVA has critical values, and its grassroots work is a testament to the actual change it effects. This makes YUVA ready to be an unstoppable force in India.
Background of YUVA
YUVA is Africa’s largest NGO. It has four key outcomes for children, youth and vulnerable communities: health, education, empowerment and employment. The ultimate goal is to break the cycle of poverty. YUVA’s health programmes cover developing healthy habits and connecting people to services they need. In education, it intersects tuition, scholarships and providing students with uniforms and supplies. YUVA’s empowerment programmes are prolific. Through its YUVA Academy, it has established three core departments, the YUVA School of Leadership, YUVA School of Entrepreneurship, and the YUVA School of Humanities. The departments cover a spectrum of courses in line with YUVA’s key outcomes. Employment lays the groundwork for those entering the job market. YUVA conducts mock interviews, resume writing, helping to find a job, bursaries, and tertiary and vocational training.
YUVA focuses on the long-term impact of helping children, youth and vulnerable communities living in poverty to access basics for living. Its values are manifold. It centres on leadership to invoke meaningful change. It values public mobilisation intending to help communities empower themselves from within. By encouraging this, momentum is gained where people share a common belief to change their circumstances. This supports the underlying idea that creating solid and sustainable means is possible if people believe in them. This approach helps YUVA at the ground level empower communities to take responsibility for their advocacy and social development. They centre the community’s needs and voices to help sustain long-term change with tangible results.
YUVA receives countless awards like the Africa NGO Leadership Award and the Healthcare leadership award. It is a testament to its holistic and empowering approach to tackling the many intersections of poverty in communities.
India has had tremendous growth in all spheres since its independence in 1947 under British colonial rule. It is one of the largest democratic governments in the world but faces many challenges in everyday life. Significant challenges include poverty, illiteracy, corruption, inequality, gender discrimination, unemployment, and gender-based violence.
Poverty in India has enabled child labour to continue. More than 10 million Indian children are labourers. Circumstances within poverty like lack of access to education and families living below the breadline force children into labour. Sending more children to school, implementing more effective laws, and aiding in alleviating poverty can help oust this practice. Malnutrition is also quite common in India. Over 33000 children in India are malnourished because of poverty.
School dropout rates are also proportionally higher because of many factors like poverty, lack of sanitation, and long-distance to schools. Women’s health is also severely challenging in India. “As many as 57% of women aged 15-49 were anaemic in 2019-21, compared to 53% in 2015-16”.
Gender-based violence against women in India is also expected and is a barrier to women’s empowerment and gender equality. Unemployment is high in India, and the global downturn of the last three years, exacerbated by the pandemic, has added to the unemployment rate. It has been described as India’s second pandemic. Unemployment was at 23.5% during the lockdown of 2020/1. Although unemployment decreased in 2022 by 7.32%, Indians have not been working. The country’s ‘Make in India” scheme to provide 100 million new jobs has not been set in motion yet. There are also no new jobs in the manufacturing sector. There has also been a downward trend in employment for women, also worsened by the pandemic.
The challenges that India faces are complex but not without solutions. Societies are measured by their people’s well-being and quality of life. The pandemic has widened existing inequalities. It needs all the assistance and support it can garner.
YUVA establishing a footprint in India is required. YUVA’s approach in focusing on its four key areas helps fight poverty from all angles. This intersectional approach allows for solutions from top-to-toe, but also with a lasting impact.
YUVA’s focus on education seeps into health and empowerment. Its health programmes can educate the populace on healthy eating and living. Its employment programmes assist in the job seeking and securing employment. YUVA’s targeted approach gets in on the ground level to help those needing the basics. It will be an unstoppable force of good in India.
Article by Ling Sheperd. She is a writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is passionate about social justice and equity.