Saturday, May 30, 2015

Youth uprising amidst earthquake in Himalayan country

The quake that hit the country has brought youth to the forefront of the larger campaign to lead the nation in times of disaster. Failure of state machinery in tackling the large scale disaster caused by the earthquake made it imperative for young people across the nation to help in times of need. There are people working tirelessly for past 10 days to ensure that the rescue operations are successful and the relief materials reach the right people.

Youth constitutes 40% of the total population of the country. According to the last census report, the literacy rate in the age group of 16-25 years is 80%, and the total literacy late of youth is 65.9%. This demography of youth in the country has resulted in tackling the entire issue differently than the traditional ways of facing the disaster. The involvement of latest technology has strengthened the communication of the young people who are working to bring normalcy in the region.

Youth taking the lead

Presently there is no coordination between the Nepal government and young volunteers working in the disaster hit areas. Individuals are working tirelessly without any support from the government. This is a new uprising of youth in the country. The disaster has brought the youth together to take charge of the country’s needs. We have seen such movements emerge in times of emergency in other parts of the world. Youth took to the forefront in Egypt during Arab Spring, in New York during Occupy Wall Street movement, and in Delhi during the India Against Corruption movement. In Nepal, the young people have created a network of volunteers and are working to help people in distress.

Using Facebook to connect

Social media knows no national boundaries. Pushpa Gurung has proven this in this hour of emergency. Having her roots in Nepal, she has been supporting her motherland from Delhi by initiating a collection drive at public places. On social media she is acting as a bridge between various organisations and volunteer groups passing on the information about each other. Similarly, Shilpa Chaudhary Khetan, an employee of Ncell in Kathmandu, has been actively using Facebook to spread the rehabilitation work updates and connecting with people for the same. Connectivity is the key word.

Clubbing online and offline rescue work

A group of young businessmen from Nepal have created a Facebook page and group. They call themselves ‘Helping Hands- Nepal Earthquake’. They have converted a multi-brand automobile showroom into their store house. So, far they have provided relief to over 300 villages. As per their Facebook page, they have delivered 765 bags of 20kg Rice, 1500 blankets, 10,000 bottles of water, 400 tent, 5 mini vans for transportation, 2 tonnes of wheat, 4000 pieces of hand gloves, 500 bottles of hand sanitiser, and much more. They are also running an online fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.

The fundraising platform Indiegogo has been able to generate $ 1.36 million alone for Nepal.

Creating a new tomorrow

The numerous youth groups working tirelessly in Nepal have paved the way for a brighter and younger tomorrow. The youth in Nepal has taken the charge to create a better and brighter tomorrow. The failure of government at various levels has not deterred the young Nepalis to take the charge in their hands.

This uprising of youth in Nepal will eventually ensure a larger role it will play in various ways in coming days. History suggests that only when youth takes charge in its hand, the nation flourishes. It is the right time for the youth to take charge in Nepal when state machinery seems to be lacking in rising to the challenge. It is now the time when youth will have a greater say in the future.

The article was written for LokMarg and The Emergency (a temporary portal to report from earthquake hit Nepal). It was published on May 7, 2015

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