Tag Archives: youth

3 months with Saath: Sam Bowers

Intro: Sam is from UK and is currently studying Masters in International Development from Utrecht University, Netherlands. He spent three months with Saath doing his research on the ‘Male Youth Experiences in the slum’ and given below is his experience in his own words.

My internship with Saath has been a truly unforgettable experience. I worked P1120555with the organisation from February-May 2014, conducting research for my Master’s thesis. My research focused on the experiences of male youth in slum communities in Ahmedabad, and how this can be used to inform and shape effective youth and gender policy and programmes. Saath’s youth programme – Youth Force – provided me with an ideal platform through which to talk to young men in the city, to hear their stories, and understand their views and perceptions.

Living in Ahmedabad was a little daunting at first, but I soon settled into this friendly, welcoming, and undoubtedly vivacious city. From the stunning ancient architecture and melting pot of cultures in the old city, to the high-rises, malls and cosmopolitan feel of the new city, it’s a place where contemporary India’s identity can really be felt. This was my first time in India, and I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to start. Ahmedabad, despite being a rambling metropolis of almost 7 million people, retains the mentality and charms of a small city.

I started my time here with an orientation in Saath’s various programmes, all of which demonstrate a high level of initiative, transparency, and accountability. I have been thoroughly impressed with the wide range of successful programmes the organisation operates. Following this, I was introduced to Abhishek, one of Youth Force’s local facilitators, who acted as my research assistant and translator. I am extremely grateful for all of his hard work, dedication and patience with me throughout the research process, I could not have done it without him!

My research involved in-depth interviews with young male members of Youth Force. It was a lengthy process, including some awkward moments when discussing women and gender, but overall it allowed me to gain a fascinating and invaluable insight into the lives and experiences of those I spoke to. Due to the demographic studied I was also given a real point for personal reflection. Presenting my research to various members of staff and youth leaders from across the state was most enjoyable and insightful; it’s been a while since one of my presentations has had such a captive and interested audience!


Celebrating Holi with Youth Force

Alongside the research for my thesis, my time with Saath has also given me so much more. I’ve gained valuable professional and personal experience, made some great friends, and had the opportunity to visit some wonderful places and eat some fantastic food. Gujarati ice-cream was a particular highlight!

I’d like to thank everyone at Saath for making me feel so welcome and happy during my time in Ahmedabad, and especially Irbaaz for taking care of so many practical issues that I could never have begun to figure out alone! Additionally, I had the good fortune to be a part of Saath’s inspiring 25th anniversary celebrations, on which I would like to congratulate and commend them. While I’m excited for the next stage of my journey (four weeks travelling across India), I will miss my time here, and greatly look forward to my next visit!

Sam has his own blog about his time in India and if you would like to read more, here’s the link to his blog:



Youth Force’s outlook fascinates me: Sagar

Sagar Patel worked with Saath as a volunteer in 2010 and since than has become a regular online donor. He is a faithful well – wisher of the organisation and recently visited Saath on 12th February, 2014. He visited the Youth Force programme and given here’s his experience of the visit in his own words.

I recently visited Saath’s Youthforce program at an Odhav center in February 8along with two visitors from the United States. In the past, I had volunteered with Saath, and I now continue to support Saath as a donor. We met with youth who are personally involved in the program. I did not have much background knowledge about the program other than a video which I had seen online about the program. Upon meeting with the students, I found that this is a wonderful, unique program.

Both the Odhav center coordinator and one of the project leaders from the Saath head office were present. They started by giving me some basic background information about the program. After this, I interacted with a group of about 10 members who were living in that area of Ahmedabad. I asked them first how they had benefited from the program, and from this discussion and further questions I came to learn more about the program.

One of the youth described working on a project as a team to clean the riverfront around the Sabarmati River and educate residents about the harmful effects of throwing garbage in the river. Another project which the youth were involved in was creating a community garden area from an area which was previously filled with garbage. This project was something new which no one had done before, and it helped to develop their ability to work as a team in addition to learning new skills. One member talked about how the youth gain leadership skills and experience with public speaking. Some youth had gone out Ahmedabad for the first time to Mumbai for leadership training. One young woman told me that she had always been afraid to travel on a bus and had lost that fear as a result of the program.

7Sagar (rightmost) at the Odhav Youth Force centre

I was quite impressed with the networking opportunities that the youth receive and the confidence and sense of accomplishment which they exhibited. I found the whole concept of this practical education which aims to not just develop new skills to perform a job but also encourages youth to try new things which excite them to be fascinating. Youthforce helps to address an unmet need in an educational system which is focused too much on rote memorization. I will be excited to come back the next time I am back in Ahmedabad to visit the program again.

Youth Stories – Riyaz Mirza

Today we bring you the story of Riyaz who has recently joined Saath and is currently working as a part time coordinator of our Juhapura Urban Resource Centre (URC).

22 years old Riyaz is from Bhavnagar and is currently completi1508003_582797488456278_1577041726_nng his Bachelors in Mechanical  Engineering in Ahmedabad. His father is a well know and respected community leader, who is working since past many years for the welfare of the people of the weaker section of society in Bhavnagar. From his childhood Riyaz was very much impresses by his father activities and always wanted to follow in his footsteps.

When he came to Ahmedabad for his studies, here also following the footsteps of his father he used to help the people of the community as much as he can. During this time he came in contact with Zuberbhai, the coordinator of the Juhapura URC at that time.After that during the course of the days he used to meet Zuberbhai quite often and Zuberbhai later on asked him to come to URC after his college was over in the day to help the people. After this everyday after finishing college Riyaz started coming to the URC daily to help in any way that he can.

When Zuberbhai left the URC, seeing the dedication and commitment of Riyaz he recommended him to Saath to take him in and Riyaz joined Saath officially in December 2013, and currently is the Part-time Coordinator of the URC. Talking about his work, Riyaz says, “I really like working for the people and in an area like Juhapura there is much need of the services provided by the URC. I want to focus on the issue of education as there is really low awareness in the area and parents are not aware of the importance of the education and I want to change this.”

A Journey to Awareness

Mital Gondaliya is our Youth Force programmes Rajkot city’s Coordinator and recently she had a chance to go on the Jagriti Yatra, which is an ambitious train journey of discovery and transformation that takes hundreds of India’s highly motivated youth, especially those who are from small towns and villages of India, on a 15 day, 8000 km national odyssey to meet the role models – social and business entrepreneurs – of the country. Given below is her experience of the journey. 

“If you want to change the world first of change yourself.  And if you want to change the world than a correct path is necessary”.

I had a really fabulous experience during the Yatra. I found my New Picture (5)ideology and the way to do something for the society. If we talk about society than for us it comes about our surrounding area, but that is not true. I learned through the journey that there are other different societies in our India and in the journey I met different people of different societies.

Today, we see the clean picture of the society from outside but inside there are so many problems. Through the Yatra I saw deeply the inside and the outside part among the 27 states and met 7 distinguished personalities who come from different society, speak different languages and still have a good unity among themselves. They came closer to understand our Indian culture. I came up to know that for success we need to have courage.

New Picture (3)If I put my view than before I went over on this tour I felt that I am successful in my life. But now I understand that success is relative, and India is still lacking behind. I visited many states and saw that there are so many areas where still no proper water system, electricity, education facilities, communication systems are in place. So, it is no use of to wait for the promises from government assuring that development will come. I realized Entrepreneurship is very important and good concept to solve our problems ourselves. Entrepreneurship encourages the small entrepreneur to succeed and live a better life.

The days of the Yatra are unforgettable days for me. Going on a tour with 450 strangers is a unique experience. I learned so many things from these strangers who became my friends. We all will live our life in a in a better way and will work on improving the life of women, children and the people of our society.

I will always be thankful to Saath Charitable Trust, Ms. Keren Nazareth & Mr. Paresh Sakariya who gave me power to complete my yatra and also my parents through whom I am able to understand myself and find out who is inside me.

Mital Gondaliya

Youth Stories: Hemant Ravtode

This is the story of a Youth who has undergone change in his life and is now sharing responsibilities in taking care of his family.

Hemant Sanjaybhai Ravtode, age 19, is a resident of Jhangirpura Surat. There are 6 members in his family, his father is New Picture (1)working in a company, his mother’s a home maker and he has two sisters and a brother. Hemant is the second child. His elder sister Ashwini is doing teaching course in an institute and his other siblings are studying. Hemant is 10th dropout and was jobless at the time of joining the Youth Force. His father is earning around Rs 6,000 per month which is not enough for the family. Hemant realised early in his life that he would have to start working to support his family. That is why he was looking for a job. But because of low education, no skills and low confidence he was not able to find any good opportunities.

Nishant Chaudhari the City Coordinator of Youth Force Surat visited Jahangirpura to talk with the youth of the area about the Youth Force programme. Hemant heard about Youth Force and decided to join the youth group. Hemant says “I like Youth Force because it’s for us (youth) and our development. I really like the activities they we are doing such as learning through playing games, visiting different parts of Surat like Auto Expo, Musical Events, Temples with the group. The meetings of the weekend are what I enjoy the most and look forward to.”

He further says “Within 15 days of joining Nishant gave me information of interview call in Harsh-Surgical’s. Nishant gave me tips for the interview which really helped me and I passed the interview. The company offered me a salary of Rs. 4500 per month, which I consider a good amount as this is my first job and now I can help my family as well.”

Hemant has undergone a huge transformation since he has joined youth force. His family is also very happy. His father says “Earlier Hemant just used to wander around with friends whole day. I feel proud to see my son working and shouldering responsibilities of his family.” Hemant’s review from his employers is also positive and they say he is hardworking, honest and a quick learner. The company has also decided to help him for his further studies.

Hemant is very happy with the change in him. His expresses “Youth Force has changed my life and way of thinking. I have a good job and I never miss our weekly meetings of the group. I am proud to be a member of Youth Force.”