“It’s possible to make a difference in the world if one is committed,” Kiran, Age 16,
“You might be young, but you can still make a difference,” Joshua, Age 10,
“In order to make a difference you must be the difference,” Casey, Age 16,
“Supporting a cause is my way of leaving my mark,” Michael, Age 14,
“Even if you’re young, you can have a really great idea that makes really a huge difference in people’s lives,” Anna, Age 12,
“Life can be unfair and it’s up to us to change that and make a positive difference,” Stefan, Age 18,
“You are never too young to make a difference,” Abby, Age 15.
True, age is no bar to make a difference to people and environment as amply proved by the above mentioned winners of “The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes” for the year 2014. Here, a word about the Barron Prize would be in order. The Barron Prize was instituted by Mr. TA Barron in honor of his mother in the year 2000 and since 2001 onward these prizes have been awarded to young Americans between the age of 8 and 18 years. Each year 25 Young Heroes are awarded the prize for making a significant positive difference to people and our planet.
You may like to learn more in detail about the excellent work being done by these Young Heroes and draw inspiration from them by visiting the website of “The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes“. Additionally, you may also visit the individual websites of the prize winners by clicking on their respective names above. When you read through these websites, it becomes crystal clear that in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others what you need is determination, courage, passion, commitment for the cause, and above all belief in yourself. If you believe that you can make a difference , then you surely will no matter how difficult the going gets.
In India too, there are many highly motivated, spirited, and talented youngsters who are already making a difference by uplifting underprivileged and working for the betterment of the society. And, there are many who want to make a difference but need to be encouraged and motivated by leading them in right direction. I remember, when I was teaching the undergraduate students at Krishna Institute of Engineering & Technology (KIET), located at Ghaziabad in India and affiliated to Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow, we had formed a society called ‘Uddeshhya’, a body of young students full of drive and zeal. Uddeshhya: Living For A Reason came into being on October 4, 2010 with an aim to create awareness regarding social and environmental issues and also to inculcate good moral values, ethics, and positive attitude among students. Since its inception, Uddeshhya has done a yeoman service and has undertaken variety of tasks including those of teaching children of labourers, hostel mess and canteen workers working inside the Institute campus. In addition, the society has also been working in the area of ‘Child Labour’ and visiting the nearby villages to create awareness regarding importance of education. The society has also been holding regular camps wherein clothes, toys, stationery, etc donated by the students and faculty were distributed to the needy people inside the campus as well as in the adjoining areas. For more details on Uddeshhya, you may visit their website and Facebook page.
We could learn many things from the example set by the American Heroes who have made a difference at such a young age. We could also undertake similar projects and make a significant positive difference to our people and environment. We could, for example, begin with Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Campaign), a gigantic campaign covering the length and breadth of the country, which can impact our lives significantly. This national level campaign was launched on October 2, 2014, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, at Rajghat, New Delhi by the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.
For India to be truly clean, we need piped water supply, drainage system, and effective management of sewage and solid waste in our cities and villages. In addition, we need to build clean toilets to end open defecation. Further, we also need to clean our water bodies including rivers and reduce pollution in the air that we breathe. Rightly, the Government alone will not be able to make our Bharat Swachh, until we, the citizens, provide our unstinting support. So, each one of us needs to get involved in the campaign and take a positive step towards cleaner India. To make the campaign a success, each one of us has to take our fair share of responsibility beginning with cleaning our homes, buildings, clusters, villages, towns, cities, and so on. We need to reduce the emissions from our vehicles to within limits so that the air we breath is not harmful to our health. We need to avoid throwing garbage, plastic bags etc. in our water bodies so that the water we drink is potable. We need to create public awareness by educating and sensitizing people towards clean living, waste reduction and its management in our households. We need students, our young heroes, to come forward and create awareness among residents of their neighborhood about clean living. Not only our students but also the schools, colleges, universities, business houses, NGOs, media and other organizations need to participate actively and willingly to make the campaign a grand success.
Good words…We need equally good deeds to fulfill our aspirations of cleaner India. So, let us take pride in cleaning our country. Let us take a step forward towards cleaner India. Let us join hands together… and Make a Significant Positive Difference…
I know, We Can and …I believe, We Will….Make the Difference….
N.B. I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Om Prakash Jain, Ph.D., the then Director KIET when Uddeshhya was formed. He was also instrumental in forwarding the following news item published in ‘Patrika‘, the Hindi newspaper, on November 2, 2014, which gave me the impetus to research and write this blog-post adding my own experiences with the young students.