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What does it mean for someone to become a citizen?
What does it mean for someone to be a public leader?
When do rights get violated and what can be done when this happens?
What can we claim as a right and what do we need to secure as ethical action?
All of these questions are central to the relationship between youth and the democracy they live in. 

Youth in this country are positioned in specific ways in the public imagination: on the one hand they are seen as leading to a ‘demographic dividend’, or as humanity’s hope for a better future. On the other hand, young people are cast as irresponsible, incapable of decision making and indifferent to the state of the world.

Among these contradictory opinions about young people, there is no space for the idea of youth rights. We have struggled for the recognition of women’s rights, child rights and minority rights, but the concept of youth rights has still not been given its due. 

When we support Youth rights, we recognize the particular challenges and discrimination faced by youth (especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds) in making the difficult transition to adulthood while trying to overcome the severe economic, social and cultural disadvantages that are placed on a majority of them in the Indian context. 

For example, we see the Right to Education Before Marriage as a right that is particular to youth, ie. a Youth Right. This is because of the pressure that young women receive to get married, resulting in them dropping out of education and the workplace. Another example of a youth right that our Youth Resource Centres have campaigned for is Sensitive Career Guidance. 

In a country that’s seen as the largest democracy in the world, and where a majority of voters is below the age of 28, the relationship between youth and democracy is crucial to the future. Young people all over India are beginning to collectivise to demand a recognition of their rights as citizens. 

Youth Rights we campaign for:

  • The right to education and employment 
  • The right to participate and be counted in democratic process and governance; 
  • The right to autonomy and freedom; 
  • Bodily rights; 
  • The right to play a role in the choice of their life partner; 
  • Freedom from abuse and violence; 
  • The right to the career of their choice; 
  • The right to nutrition and health in their growing years 

Samvada aids them in recognising their own youth rights/responsibilities and placing these in the context of democratic governance, so that they can become ethical and strong leaders in the future.

Our Activities on Youth Rights & Democracy

Creating Young Leaders

We believe that young people have the potential to inspire and guide other young people through positive peer support as leaders and influencers of social change. From the students who have participated in our intensive courses and reflective workshops, we identify those who demonstrate passion and courage of conviction, along with an inclination for leadership roles.

 Learn More about our Youth Leadership Programme

Youth Rights Advocacy

Over the years, the Youth Work Resource Centre has been involved in actively advocating for youth rights. After organising a youth parliament in 2010 and several consultations with young people, human rights advocates and youth workers, Samvada prepared a Charter of Youth Rights based on Constitutional principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Learn More about our Youth Rights Advocacy Programme

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