“Making Mumbai: A Youth Convention” was a special occasion for Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) and Don Bosco’s Bosco Boys Home, (BBH) Borivali to collaborate and work for youngsters. The main aim for the programme was “Claiming Identity”. More than 650 Youngsters came together from different castes, creed, urban and rural, bastis and slums of Mumbai and gathered at Bosco Boys Home for this event on 17 February, 2019 with a need to have a vision for a better future.
The theme for the gathering was “Claiming Identity.” It meant claiming our rights, our responsibilities, claiming who we are and what we are in the society. It was a whole day programme from dawn to dusk comprising of two parts a panel discussion from morning 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, followed by lunch and games in the afternoon and then a cultural programme in the evening.
The YUVA group approached Fr. Corlis Gonsalves, the Director of BBH and preplanned for the whole event along with Deacon Romero D’Souza. Fr. Gonsalves welcomed the whole gathering and declared the event open. Youngsters from various fields of indigenous communities to newly-arrived working professionals, rural marginalised populations as well urban came for this event with a vision to come together and make our city a ComplexCity. A city which visions the co-creation of democratic, participatory and inclusive urban spaces.
The morning session comprised of the panel discussion by the youngsters from different backgrounds and places like Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Aarey Colony Goregaon, Dharavi, Navi Mumbai, Ambujwadi, Lallubhai Compound, Mankhurd etc. a platform to come forward and share their problems and to discuss solutions for the same. Topics ranged from identity crisis, working with disabled youth, demand for more inclusive spaces and facilities, socio-economic realities, the struggles in accessing basic services, the changing face of Navi Mumbai over the decades, how the greenfield city has not given space to those who have helped build it and much more.
Shashank from Sanjay Gandhi National Park spoke of the deforestation and space for nature and animals which are dwindling. Sana Shaikh from Dharavi highlighted in her talk the importance to focus on identity building, and how the strongest thrust on identity formation comes from one’s own efforts. Also a representative from the transgender community, Deepa, spoke about identity struggles throughout the years and the need for more gender sensitization and awareness sessions. The cultural programme comprised of songs, streetplays, band, recitation of poems, mime, storytelling and dance highlighting the various issues affecting our city. The boys of BBH also performed a dance which was well appreciated and loved by the crowd.
Renowned writer and founder member of the group “Dalit Panther”, J. V. Pawar, was one of the chief guests for the event. He gave a rousing speech at the opening ceremony speaking about the writing of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, the role of B. R. Ambedkar, the importance of respecting the Constitution, the power of democracy, and how the youth can play a major role in driving change. Encouraging the youngsters he said, “I am a 75-year-old youth. The responsibility to drive change lies with each one of us.”
“This event today is dedicated to the youth from across the city, so that they can
ideate and plan for working with one another towards sustainable and inclusive urban spaces. The development of city is inclusive. Coming together of rural and urban youngsters to find solutions for the various problems from within by creating a common platform to understand their identity and progress of the city. We brought forth and also showcased our observations from our recently concluded City Caravan, a course on co-creating inclusive cities with youth by putting up various stalls in collaboration with other N.G.O’s. Many games and cultural stalls promoting the importance of using scientific approach to remove superstitious beliefs, ill-effects of drugs, water recycle, on the history and different cultures of our city, road safety awareness and women empowerment and much more.” shared Vijay Bharat, project coordinator for child protection for YUVA, Mumbai region.
“Thanks to this event I see myself having many options to choose from for my future studies. It also helped me to analyze and see a cleaner Mumbai with a much healthier relation between the people” said one of the participants for the event Mr. Sanu Sheikh.
Deacon Romero D’souza, the Perfect of Studies concluded the event by speaking about Bosco Boys Home and also presented the different courses available here for youngsters to attend and also asked for any children who are orphans or runaways saying, “They are most welcome here. Bosco Boys Home can be their home, their family.”
The vote of thanks was given by the Executive Director of YUVA, Ms. Roshini Nugehali. She said, “Our city is complex with all the diversity of castes, creed, religion, etc. It an active city reinventing itself daily to reveal new shocks and surprises, quirks and eccentricities. That is why it is important for us to celebrate the richness of our city, make a journey to listen to and participate in its past, present and potential urban narratives. We have used this platform to convey this message through conversations, visual art, performances, street plays, music etc. We need to collaborate and act to get results for this generation and the generation yet to come. ”