Gramya Manthan, a combination of two words meaning Rural and Churning can be interpreted differently by different people. Largely however the essence of the name lies in the exploration of life and self through the exploration of villages. For us, the ones who have grown up leading the better part of our lives in cities, deriving our lessons and experiences from the different facets of city life have missed out on the crucial and often fascinating learnings which are stored in every corner of rural communities.
Often the luxuries that life in a city grants us and often the tight schedules we tie ourselves in, often the absence of an equally interested peer group and often the obstacles of means and measures constrain our journey of exploration. Our understanding of life thus remains limited to the little that we have seen around us and to the little that we hope to see but often don’t manage. Most of us remain oblivious to the understanding that when we write the development story of india, rural india needs to be represented truly in its aspirations rather than token representation and that is possible only when future leaders know ground realities through experience and not only through intellectual discourses.
Youth Alliance an organization working on Youth leadership, awareness and empowerment saw in today’s life the fading glory of rural life and a huge gap between the understandings of urban youths of life in villages and the actual condition prevailing in the villages. Gramya Manthan, a nine day rural exploration journey to Rural Kanpur is an attempt to eliminate this dearth. Not only does the program revolve around exposures to rural India, it takes the participants through a set of experience which help them grasp the rural life in its entirety often returning back with a much deeper understanding of themselves and the society.
The program selects the forty most brilliant hearts from the country who for nine days intensely engage with rural communities. The process in designed organically in a manner where the participants can churn out maximum learning through phases of observing, understanding and finally engaging. Along with staying with the local communities, fitting their lifestyles to those of the villages, often eating, dressing and living the same way the program also requires them to identify problems in the eco-systems and find ways of solving it. In the past, participants have been involved in organizing workshops for school children, health camps, sanitation drives etc.
Along with engagement and exploration of rural life, the program focuses specifically on self, often taking the participants through a set of activities and workshops. The participants also get a chance to interact with a number of contemporary social leaders like Anshu Gupta( Goonj), Ravi Gulati( Manzil), R.Elango (Kuthambakkam). For those who have gone for the program in the last few years have claimed for it to a turning point in their lives and a major influence on their consequent choice of lifestyles. A number of alumni members have gone up further to start social initiatives like learning centers, health-care centers etc in different parts of the country
The program has recently opened their applications. So for those, who have been wanting to explore the serene and quieter part of India and have been unable to do it so far, Gramya Manthan comes as the perfect opportunity.
First Deadline: April 20th,2014
Second Deadline: May 20th, 2014
Image Source: Youth Alliance@facebook