Becoming I Foundation is an internationally recognized youth led organization that mobilizes young people into engaging with community development issues. With volunteers from varied socio-cultural backgrounds and age groups working on projects in the fields of women empowerment, trafficking, primary education, alternate sources of employment, leadership training, life skills development and youth empowerment, the foundation has mobilized over 5000 youth who have enriched the lives of an equal number of young people.

Tanvi Girotra, CEO and Founder started Becoming I in her first year at Hindu College She shares how working with Becoming I is a life-altering experience, “If there is one very crucial thing that the Becoming I experience teaches you, it is this: You are not doing anyone a favour, you are not pitying anyone, this is not charity of any kind, and you are not on a pedestal in any way. They have more to give you than you will ever have to give them. Go in as an Explorer and you’ll come out a transformed, more educated person. Or if you’re lucky enough, you might never come out.“

One such project they have undertaken goes by the name of Project Leap. Project Leap is Becoming I Foundation’s most effectual venture into education and has created powerful interventions in Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Project Leap is a targeted and innovative intervention aimed at providing a wholesome learning and growing environment to children from low-income backgrounds in India.
Volunteers work as educators and render their expertise in the fields of Music/Art/Dance/Theater/Sports. Driven by a commitment towards enabling an all-round development for children from less-privileged backgrounds, the volunteer educators, through a new and innovative curriculum, aim at creating curiosity, sensitivity and an exploration of the self, and to make everyday subjects easy to learn, absorb and assimilate.

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There is no doubt that this has been a hitherto unexplored territory. Teaching performing and creative arts is so empowering, both for the educator and the learner. The overall aim of the project is to drastically bring up admission rates, decrease drop out rates and improve learning outcomes. We foresee every school in India becoming a center for change and community development.

Over the last 6 phases of Project Leap spanning more than 3 years, thousands of young people have excelled as educators and completed their Becoming I journeys.

Recruitments for Project Leap are currently on. If you wish to be an educator of the same, the application forms are available on www.becomingifoundation.org

All Image Credits: Becoming I Foundation

Kritika Narula

[email protected]

Swechha, started in 2000 as a young people’s campaign to raise awareness about pollution in the River Yamuna, is starting a fresh youth mobilization drive, ‘We For Yamuna.’  The campaign intends to work throughout March and April to organize sensitization drives, discussions and Yamuna walks for students of North Campus. Jack Todd and Josh Roberts,  volunteers of the campaign answers questions for DU Beat.

1. What made you come up with the idea of starting the campaign “We for Yamuna”? 


“We for Yamuna” started as a campaign in August 2000 for creating and spreading awareness about the pitiable state of Yamuna in Delhi. Since its inception, the campaign has been using innovative methods to attract the attention of the government, media and citizens for the cause of the river. Today, “We for Yamuna” is globally recognized as one of the strongest youth voices on the issue of Yamuna. “We for Yamuna” led to the genesis of Swechha in June 2001. For the past six weeks we have been working within North Campus to spread awareness and create a buzz about Yamuna throughout the student bodies.

Jack (left) and Josh (right) talking to students from North Campus about the river at  Najafgarh Drain, the first drain that enters the Delhi stretch of Yamuna.
Jack (left) and Josh (right) talking to students from North Campus about the river at Najafgarh Drain, the first drain that enters the Delhi stretch of Yamuna.

2. Tell us about the previous attempts that you have made to better the condition of Yamuna? What was the impact those endeavours had on people involved?

Since 2000, Swechha has facilitated a huge number of successful mega events including: Yamuna Shramdans, Yamunotsavs, Delhi’s first Yamuna Cyclothon in 2012 and the first 24 hour Yamuna cleanup as a part of NDTV’s Greenathon. Over the past 14 years we have engaged with over 15000 young people through Yamuna Walks and Yamuna Yatras. We have also engaged actively with national and international media on the issue of Yamuna. All of these events and activities have resulted in an increased level of awareness.

3. What does this campaign involve? How do you think this campaign will improve the condition of the river?

Since February 1st “We for Yamuna” has been working with North Campus on the awareness aspect of the campaign. Since then we have facilitated several Yamuna Walks, Community Interaction Sessions and Perspective Building Exercises to open the eyes of North Campus students to the state of Yamuna. As active campaigners Josh and I believe the first step to a successful campaign is awareness and that is what we are working towards.

Water from the Delhi section of Yamuna on the left and from the Haryana section of Yamuna on the right


4. Why are you targeting students of North Campus? Any specific reason?

Students getting out of a boat at Qudsia Ghat at the end of a Community Interaction Session along the river.

In 2000, a group of students from St. Stephens College initiated a campaign on the Yamuna, which eventually evolved into Swechha. We feel it was very important to make the students of North Campus aware of this issue as the river flows so closely yet so few students are aware of its location. North Campus is the hub of positive energy and we want our targets of change to be the media of change.


5. What is the cause of Yamuna degradation? This degradation can’t be stopped in just few attempts.

Yamuna entering Delhi through Wazirabad Barrage.

The biggest cause of degradation of Yamuna is the amount of raw sewage being pumped into Yamuna via 16 drains along with the minimal flow of the river. As Yamuna enters Delhi it becomes comparatively smaller as it flows through Wazirabad Barrage and starts its 22km journey through Delhi which amounts to 2% of the river’s length but contributes to 80% of the total pollution.

 6. What are your future plans of action regarding the whole issue?

As of now we plan to keep on creating a buzz about the river in North Campus. In time we see these students become a part of our bigger picture and help us spread the word among the residents of the city and to be responsible citizens.

Be it student initiatives, changed academic  systems, social work, protests, international trips, inviting celebrities or launching awareness campaigns, Delhi University has witnessed them all. Quite recently, i.e. on 7th August ,2013, ‘Pink Chain’, a month-long campaign to create awareness about breast cancer among the students of Delhi University,  was launched in the national capital. The programme which is disseminating information about breast cancer will end on the 4th of September.

Being an initiative of Punarjeevan Bihar, an NGO, along with eminent doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in association with the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) Science Centre, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur (SGTB) Khalsa College, it has some serious messages to give to the students regarding breast cancer. It is meant to create awareness regarding the feeling of caring for oneself, for the protection of women’s feminism and self worth, and maintenance of their healthy or disease-free journey of life. The students from Miranda House, Daulat Ram and Khalsa College were present at the launch.

Screening of the documentary-drama- ‘Pink Chain’, power-point presentations and experiences of people who have seen the disease closely will act as tools to create awareness about breast cancer. Interactive sessions will be held and presentations will be made by the AIIMS doctors. Several colleges will be grouped together to give information about breast cancer.  It can be regarded as a campaign dedicated solely  to the nation’s  women.

While the past week saw sessions in colleges such as Hindu, SRCC and SGTB Khalsa, several other colleges would witness similar sessions in the coming weeks. Here is the schedule of the same:

[tabgroup][tab title=”Forth-coming events”]

16th August: Hans Raj College/Ramjas College

19th August: Sri Venkateswara/Motilal Nehru/RLA College

21st August: Gargi/Kamala Nehru/LSR

23rd August: Lady Irwin College

26th August: Satyawati College

3rd September: ARSD College

4th September: Jesus and Mary College [/tab][/tabgroup]

Swechha, a Youth-centric NGO based in New Delhi is presenting an opportunity to attend Influence’s I Engage Camp. Influence is a youth programme that focuses on environmental leadership, active citizenship, and volunteering. An NGO that has done commendable work in the fields of environment and social development issues, Swechha opens up another avenue for passionate and driven individuals to take part in a camp that will be held in Kraska, a village in the interiors of Sariska, Rajasthan.

The I Engage camp is an excellent initiative, focusing on exposing the youth to the rural and rustic side of India. It is a brilliant method of making them more sensitive towards rural communities and development. This all-expense paid camp will consist of engaging workshops, interaction with the villagers, theatre and other creative activities coupled with tons of excitement and adventure. The forty best entries will be chosen and the participants will be sent for Influence’s I Engage initiative.

A capacity building and orientation workshop is being organised on Saturday, January 12th. This workshop will focus on team building and active citizenship that are essential requirements for the camp, which is to be held on 25th to 29th January 2013. Registration for I Engage has already begun, thus all those interested are advised to register as soon as possible. Applying for this programme includes sending a short paragraph to [email protected], describing yourself as a volunteer and a change maker. Further details are available on Swechha’s facebook page-Swechha We for Change Foundation. Swechha is looking forward to active and passionate participation by the youth of this country, in a hope to change the way we think of our countryside and embrace development and community service.

When festivity begins with a dash of pristine goodness and the intent to spread joy across every nook of our diversified community, you know there isn’t a louder thud of cheer that shall float around for the rest of the season. Imbibing this wholesome philosophy of generosity, Kamala Nehru College marked the season of festivity by celebrating ‘Adrith’ , an NGO cum Diwali mela in collaboration with Delhi States AIDS Control Society on 18th October 2012. As humble as was the purpose, the commencement of the event was far thunderous and enthralling. With an inauguration by the esteemed Principal, Ms. Minothi Chatterjee, what trailed was a mesmerizing kathak performance by Mr. Sunny Sushoday followed by a performance by the dance society of the college, ‘Nupur’. The fashion society, Glitz hypnotically walked to claim the spot of the most popular society of the college once again. An awe inspiring Rajasthani folk dance performance by children suffering from thalassemia rendered an atmosphere defined by pure charisma. Witnessing a resolve worth admiration, out on display were a number of NGO stalls that stirred the latent string of responsibility in every individual as was evident. Among the many who made their presence noted were Art of Living, National Federation of the Blind, Parivartan Sandesh, Manzil and Smile. These NGOs are testimony of change making and evolution in their respective spheres of social work. ‘Kayakalp’, an initiative by SIFE SRCC which aims to empower puppeteers of low income groups and ‘Project Akshar’ which is an endeavour by SIFE SSCBS, captivated a mammoth crowd. A meticulous effort was made by conducting several health check-up camps like the blood sugar camp, homeopathy camp and the national thalassemia camp. The event was a host to many sensitizing activities, with an aim to educate the youth about blood donation. The Poster making competition saw a roaring participation and entailed cash prizes worth Rs 10000 along with the street plays which were a gripping power house of action. In dearth of absolutely nothing, the event housed frolic, reverberating jam sessions, scrumptious food stalls and recreational acts of shopping. A power pact performance by the rock band ‘Zzid’ and an absolutely lyrical performance by the Bihu dancers of Pragjyotish Bihu Husori Group rewardingly concluded the event. But amidst all the flair throughout the event, what stood out as the hero was the pure resolve of righteousness, vigour and honest intent of integration of the society to give back with all humility. “It was just very satisfying working for the college in the name of a good cause” says Shivangi heaving a sigh of contentment.]]>

A selfless good deed in our rapidly modernising and materialistic society is almost as rare as the Green Sea Turtle. Living in this age of spiffy technology, where everything that we need is just a touch away, has rendered most of us incapable of looking beyond our immediate world to help someone who may not be just as lucky as we are.

I cannot boast of being a great social worker or preach righteousness to anyone; I simply want to acknowledge the fact that there still are some individuals who try to make a difference in the lives of those who start believing they are lost in an abyss of inky darkness.

Sanjivini Society for Mental Health, a purely non-profit organisation, works tirelessly towards the goal of reinstating people’s faith in themselves.

It is a premier organisation that has been providing counselling, a much needed service, absolutely free of cost since 1976. People with problems ranging from stressful life situations to severe mental illness can find solace here.

With two centres in Delhi, at Qutab Institutional Area and Defence Colony, Sanjivini’s volunteer body is the mainstay of the organisation. They are a set of committed individuals who work without remuneration. They come from all walks of life, are stringently selected and intensively trained in order to maintain the quality of counselling.

The work at this noble institution is carried out at two main units- the Crisis Intervention Unit and the Rehabilitation Centre. The Crisis Intervention Unit provides confidential psycho-social counselling for a wide spectrum of emotional distress and mental health problems, ranging from self esteem issues, inter-personal problems, depression, suicidal inclination, substance abuse and minor mental illness. The Rehabilitation Centre is a pioneering programme that works towards the rehabilitation of persons suffering from chronic schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is a full-day therapeutic facility.   Over the years, their Community Outreach initiatives have been directed towards the goal of de-stigmatizing counselling by raising awareness.

Sanjivini organises a fundraiser once every two years to ensure that their unerring service to the society can continue. The fundraising event this year was ‘Karna’- a ballet in Mayurbhanj Chau presented by the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra at Kamani Auditorium on 24th January. Dr. Abid Hussain(former Indian Ambassador to the US) and Mr. Keshav Desiraju(from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) were present at the occasion.

The ballet was a beautifully executed, heart-wrenching piece on the life of one of the most inspiring characters of the Mahabharata. The performance was very apt for the occasion as it depicted a person who faced hostile circumstances throughout his life and was denied his rightful place in the social milieu. The dancer who played the role of Karna was a delight to watch and won many accolades, much like the ceaseless efforts of Sanjivini.