“There were several people in my village who did not have complete and accurate information about the Covid-19 vaccine…they were afraid, had many doubts…rumours, myths and misconceptions were widespread because of which people were hesitant to get vaccinated”, recalled Manish.
Manish and his fellow Saathiyas went home-to-home to generate awareness about the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, wrote slogans, and counselled people to get vaccinated.
“I got 40 people vaccinated and even accompanied them to the vaccination centre. I am proud to say that in our village Ramgarh, almost 70% people are now vaccinated!”.
“Initially when I went campaigning, people would turn me away, and some even got upset with me. I felt terrified of getting affected with Covid…however for the good of the community, I forged ahead and did not lose morale. Slowly, people started appreciating my hard work and initiative, and I was recognized as a change champion in my community”, said Manish with pride.
The village of Ramgarh is respected and acknowledged in the entire district as a model for achieving a high rate of vaccination.
“I do not live for myself; I live for my community and for my society”, Manish concluded.
An appetite for change - combating food insecurity
22-year-old Raunak from Dongri, Rajasthan, is a change champion under UNFPA and REC Foundation's Naubat Baja intervention (an edutainment programme to generate awareness on social issues).
During the lockdown, a number of the underprivileged in the slum communities of Dongri were unable to access rations and faced food shortage.
“I was deeply moved by the plight and condition of those who did not have enough to eat and were struggling to acquire daily rations”, said Raunak pensively.
Raunak immediately sprang into action.
She mobilized herself and her team to distribute food supplies to slum dwellers from her own house, and even went home-to-home distributing food stock within the slum community, providing subsistence to over 25 households.
“I also learnt that many in the slum community were unaware of how to protect themselves from Covid-19 and did not understand safety protocols. I informed them about the disease, its harmful effects and how it was necessary to protect themselves and those around them”, she said.
Raunak educated them about how to correctly wear masks, maintain social distance, and ensure hand hygiene. Many did not even have masks…Raunak made innumerable masks herself and distributed them in the community.
A true Covid warrior who strove not just to end food insecurity but also created awareness about the disease.
These stories are a testament to the innovative spirit of youth, and their resilience and courage in a crisis, and we applaud each one of them.
Youth is a crucial phase of life when one is full of idealism, empathy and a yearning for a brighter future. UNFPA believes in giving young people all the right platforms to grow and develop - through education and exposure to opportunities that can truly change their lives. And young people, in turn, can change the world!